Gaudiya vedanta publications: The end of an era?

I was first introduced to Gurudevas books in 2002, and I have since had a 15 year love relationship to His books. I have loved the work of Gaudiya Vedanta Publication, the beautiful art work, the bindings on the books which are so beautiful at times. It hasn’t only been about the content of the book, but the book itself. There is a lot of art work in just producing the beauty a book can be and GVP has done so, expertly.

My favorite color is golden brown (/copper), just like the cover of Gurudevas Sri Gita Govinda version. The coptic binding on Gaura-vani pracarine. Book publishing is a craft. There’s a lot of emotions connected to Gurudevas books.

I have tried to be careful about expressing emotions on this blog because I find people have a tendency to favor emotions before using sound judgment (or just common sense as I like to call it). In the case of the changes made in Gurudevas books though, describing emotions has an important place.

At first it was disbelief (nooo, they can’t have stooped to that level). Now it has been disappointment for a while which are slowly entering grief. I have loved GVPs work: Gurudevas books, the content and the physical book. The bhaktibase app is really good. The GVP facebook page which published new content often and with different reports. A few cartoons. My latest favorite is the youtube videos of different people who talks about their favorite book. For me, the GVP has really shown what jewels devotees are. You see it in the work that are presented. The people behind all the work is not shown, the work itself really shines like diamonds.

I’m slowly realizing that my love relationship is coming to an end.

Why, oh why, do you edit the books to suit your siddhantical belief? Why can’t you let Gurudevas words talk for themselves? In the case of controversial topics that are presented in books, why not just print the words exactly as Gurudeva said them? There is no need to edit the words to fit your belief. If your belief is correct, those words will speak for themselves.  If those words are true, the truth prevails.

There is larger issues at stake here as well, more than just two parties disagreeing. As Malati didi points out in a comment in the previous blog entry, the edited books becomes unfit to be used for book distribution to people for ethical reasons. The disagreements aren’t really that important in the larger sense, it’s for those who have been devotees for a long time. But we who hold opposite views will not present such books to new devotees, to avoid later confusions and to make sure the truth prevails.  We don’t want new devotees to think we fell from Vaikuntha, we want them to begin by having a correct basic understanding before the controversies/confusion enters.

If GVP could stick to the exact words of Gurudeva, this problem resolves itself in a way that should be satisfactory for both sides. Both sides claim they follow Gurudevas words, so let’s stick to Gurudevas exact words. 

Problem solved?

Okey, I know it’s a simplistic notion to believe that Gaudiya Vedanta Publication will change their stance and print Gurudevas words exactly (I can’t believe I’m writing that sentence even). When something like this happens, its because a rot has entered the organization – meaning many people.

This has even broader implications. So they want to argue their position that all of the parampara is only manjaris and only manjaris can be rupanugas. So they change Gurudevas books to prove themselves. So when they are questioned – they can just point to the books they themselves edited to prove their own point. That is fabrication.


Okey, so the use of the strong word “fabrication” implies intent. That the changes made are done intentionally, and not because of a misunderstanding or lack of understanding the impact. I’m not convinced that there is intent there – that is yet to be proved.

But it is very problematic that they are making up their own proof. This is something that should interest people no matter what side they are on.

In no other tradition is it usual that books become edited and even published after an author is dead – yet for us it is business as usual. I’m not sure if that’s okey.

So – now another work begin. To track changes in the books – track and transcribe the audio behind these statements to prove the changes made and what is actually being said.

So I created a page to begin tracking the discrepancies found  in books, lectures, dates, whatever.

It will be a big job. I hope I’m up for it. Any help and tips will be appreciated.

Because I’m getting worried. The legacy of Gurudeva must be protected.

Preserving Gurudevas legacy

The devotees of KBM keep on publishing refutals on siddhantical disagreements which are technical in nature. This is exactly what is needed when arguing siddhanta. It has to be technical.

For most of us lay people this debate is difficult to enter. We don’t have enough background and effort to really get into it (because damn it, we have a life to attend to).

There are many layers to this debate which increases the complexity of these issues and by being aware of them, we can slowly unravel some of it:

  • Who is rupanuga?
  • Can our parampara only consist of manjaris?
  • Did Gurudeva deceive us and how am I supposed to make sense of it?
  • Senior devotees disagrees and it never seems to end
  • There are strong emotions on both sides and I find it difficult to understand it
  • Senior devotees I previously admired are loosing my esteem
  • Who can we put our faith in as there seem to be backstabbing from anybody towards anybody with some following?
  • The sanga is splitting into groups who seem to be unable to talk to each other
  • Everybody is crying up about vaishnava aparadha everytime there is a problem
  • Empathy, see an issue from multiple sides and learn the ability to differentiate
  • Accepting flaws in others and may be admitting our own

No wonder this is uncomfortable for most of us to dive into, but if we do we will be richer for it. The siddhantical differences is especially important for us as this has broader implications for who we accepts as Gurus and take siksa from.

This debate will never end until one side has won, because this is about preserving the truth and Gurudevas legacy. I want to emphasize the last one, because its important: We need to preserve Gurudevas legacy from watering down until it becomes unrecognizable.

The Gaudiya Vedanta publications are run by those who believe that only those who have manjari moods are rupanugas and can be in the guru parampara. This becomes problematic if Gurudevas books becomes edited to suit their belief.

We are entering a situation where what editions a book is in matters. This is just like the “as it is” books of Srila Prabhupada. The editing of Srila PRabhupadas books was very controversial after His disappearance, and the consequence was that many of the books are now sold “as it is” – the original books without editing. Personally, I have several of those books as I find them more appealing.

Now I find myself wishing I knew Hindi so I could read Gurudevas words exactly as he intended them so the only lack there is, is in me. This is creating a dangerous precedence. Please, please – can we avoid a situation where we don’t trust the books published with Gurudevas name as author on them? Can we avoid an “as it is” situation on Gurudevas books?

I truly believe that GVP should issue a statement on this which specifically targets the changes and how GVP will treat siddhantical disagreements. Not Syamarani, but GVP so that we can feel secure that we can trust Gurudevas books.

Doing translations of Gurudevas lectures is difficult as there are varying degrees of sound quality, people speaking on top of each other, understanding the context, so many different people talking and one don’t always know who and not the least: so much can be said so quickly and humor and body language and gestures are lost. We appreciate the work being put into it.

I hope we avoid an “as it is” situation. Preserving Gurudevas legacy is too important.

Ascertaining the truth

When we look for religious truths, the vedas say that truth are threefold: sadhu, sastra and guru. So wouldn’t it be pertinent that in siddhantic disagreements, we have to verify our stance with all three?

Sadhu sastra, guru vakya, tinete kariya aikya. Spiritual realization can be perfected by three parallel process. Sadhu. Sadhu means saintly persons, who are realized souls, sadhu. And sastra. Sastra means scriptures, authoritative scriptures, Vedic scriptures, sastra. Sadhu, sastra, and guru, a spiritual master. Three parallel line. And if you place your car or vehicle on these three parallel line, your car will go direct to Krsna. Tinete kariya aikya. Just like in the railway line you see two parallel lines. If they are in order, the railway carriages are carried very smoothly to the destination. Here also, there are three parallel lines–sadhu, sastra, guru: saintly person, association of saintly person, acceptance of bona fide spiritual master, and faith in the scriptures. That’s all. Then your carriage will be going nicely, without any disturbance.”

Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 10-18-68, Seattle

One of the things I have noticed in the siddhantical debates when discussing what siddha-deha Srila Prabhupada has, is that the madhurya-rati side only references Gurudevas words.But even a Gurus words have to be checked against sadhu and sastra – not because we think we know more than Gurudeva, but to make sure our understanding is correct. Just quoting Gurudeva is not enough when dealing with siddhantical disagreements. Quoting Gurudeva is certainly a valid source in all instances, but when disagreements arise there need to be several sources (specifically sadhu and sastra) which agrees with Gurudevas statements.

The siddhantical issues that are being put into question is:

  1. Our lineage contains only manjaris and other moods belongs somewhere else.
  2. If one has another mood than madhurya, one is not a rupanuga

Gurudeva has specifically said that our lineage is only manjaris:

When it comes to the lineage, it can be easily refuted by sastra:

yuga-dharma pravartāimu nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri bhāva-bhakti diyā nācāmu bhuvana

I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age, nama-sankirtana. I shall distribute the four mellows of devotional service (dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya).

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.19

Here we have a case of Gurudeva saying one thing, and sastra saying something else.

Can Gurudeva have opinions that differ from His own diksa Guru?

Certain sahajiyas, following the theory of ‘ichari-paka’, or expecting ripe fruit prematurely, say that “rupanuga-bhajana’ consists of only the acceptance of parakiya madhura-rasa. They have established that other rasas such as dasya, sakhya and vatsalya are not included within rupanuga-bhajana. Such statements identify the sahajiyas section as being without proper understanding of rasa-tattva, and as being uncontrolled [independent]. These days, many persons situated within the line of conception flowing from Sri Saraswati Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, are fallen from the true line of thought of Sri Rupa Goswami, and have actually taken shelter of the feet of the followers of the sahajiya-section, and are believers in this ‘ichari-paka’ philosophy; Such imitationists say ‘what will you get from preaching? What is there in kirtana? Do bhajana, just do bhajana!” This class of offenders think that their exchanging of the chanting of the Holy Name for deceitfully ‘pulling rope’ on their japa-mala, while sitting and performing silent bhajana, is actual bhajana. It is a matter of great astonishment that even though a great many people are doing this, still they have no shame. Service to Hari kirtana is actual rupanuga-bhajana, otherwise not.

Sri Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja
The appearance of Sri Baladeva, 21 August, 1958. Appearing in Sri Sri Bhagavat Patrika, 1-12, 2017.

This statement from Kesava Maharaja addresses both siddhantical disputes. When it comes to the thesis that only manjaris are rupanugas, I believe its because one is unable to see it from several viewpoints. From Gurudeva (a manjari), a rupanuga would mean following Rupa Goswamis internal moods. But for jivas with other intrinsic mood, they would interpret being a Rupanuga as following his teachings (as their mood may be different, but teachings are still very much current for them).

In other words, there is room for all moods in the gaudiya vedanta lineage. Now, there may be biological families whose moods are within one of the four mellows, but they still are within the gaudiya vedanta lineage. I’m happy that Gurudeva is my Guru, but I would have been honored to have had a Guru with a different mellow as long as he was authentic.

The funny thing is that those who belongs within the madhurya-rati side is also discussing the age-old question on whether the jiva fell from vaikuntha. It’s an excellent case of history repeating itself. In Isckon, during and after Srila Prabhupadas disappearance there was a belief that the jivas had been in Vaikuntha, but fell down to this material world. Gurudeva refuted this belief and showed how the jivas came from the tatastha region and that it’s not possible to be in Vaikuntha and fall down from the moods there. The same disciples who argues the correct understanding toward this isckon misconception, is the same ones who has the misconceptions in terms of madhurya rasa. It really is history repeating itself.

That Gurudeva was able to cheat us on these things is really a glory of his, not something that limits him. Gurudeva’s knowledge is so powerful that we still discuss and disagrees on it even today. That’s how powerful his influence is. Preaching tactic doesn’t subtract from his glory, it adds to it.

Furthermore, what evidence is there that having misconceptions disqualify one from spiritual progress? None, because misconceptions are not what we are being measured on. If we were measured on our misconceptions, none of us would stand a chance.

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.

Bhagavad-gita 04.34

This verse have two parts: What makes a perfect Guru, and what makes a perfect disciple.

A real disciple is someone who gets that experience too, from the wise, by means of three things:


Rigorous inquiry


The interesting quality in this context is “rigourous inquiry” which means there are room for questioning, having misconceptions. Just as long as one keep on working on our understandings, it will be fine. Just don’t let pride stand in the way.

(I’m taking away that last sentence there, because its wrong. I’m leaving it visibly lined through so that you can see my error)

I reserve the right to be offended

There’s a letter now circulating on Facebook which speaks against a person who is apparantly writing offensive things both over emails and on Facebook. I do not link to this as I see it as hanging people out to dry.

Which is ironic considering that’s exactly what people think I’m doing in the case of PP. So I will therefore specify my intentions: I believe there is a difference between siddhantic debates, crimes and deviations. PP is challenged both when it comes to siddhanta and in terms of a crime. I haven’t publicized deviations and I so far have not allowed deviations and hanging people out on my blog.

I find that people in the sanga has a very black and white thinking, unable to see or accept nuances and distinctions. It’s one of the things I try to add to the conversation. It requires the ability to view multiple viewpoints at the same time and be able to navigate between them. It also means I have to see that not everything I say or do is positive, that I may create damage. I have to accept that I can make mistakes and will get corrected/resistance for it.

And I’m fine with it.

There is one word that is very infected in our faith – “offences”. Committing offences towards Vaishnavas has to be challenged, it has to be put down and the rightousness of the correct party has to be victorious. Apparantly this person is writing a lot of offensive things and therefore has to be vanquished. So how do we vanquish – yes, we publish very private details about that persons faults.

And we do not like to read such offensive materials – we reserve the right to not be offended, so we have to make a big deal out of it.

But you know what? We don’t have to react to every persons gibberish by being offended. We can just block it, decide to not give that person any more attention than what’s needed. Or we can quietly disagree on that persons page, over the privacy of emails or whatever. We don’t have to react by digging into that persons personality publicly. We can even disagree with that person publicly, but let’s just not dig into that persons personality. Let’s instead address what that person writes.

We should not be so easily offended. We can’t expect that our emails should only contain things we agree with and are pleasant. We can’t expect that our Facebook feed contains only non-controversial subject matters which requires nothing of us.

We need people that gives resistance, disagrees and brings forward unpleasant things. But we need to make distinctions between those who bring constructive feedback and those who only wants to sow conflicts and havoc in their wake.

And we need to do all that while maintaining our bhajan. If these things disturbs your bhajan – then shut it off for a while until your bhajan is stable enough to deal with it. But do not expect that people should stop offending you, just because you don’t like it. Learn to set up your boundaries instead.


A person can be empowered to do one or more service to Krishna. This empowerment will enthuse others, make them receive so much inspiration and joy in their service to Krishna.

Empowerment does not equal being a Bhagavat and that this person is someone to accept as siksa. It means that there is a certain function this person is supposed to perform, and all glories to that person for performing it.

There has been one issue that has become a public secret. It’s troublesome that it’s not being dealt with to my knowledge.

While the sannyasis may debate tattva and authenticity, that is their prerogative and duty. But there is one other HUGE issue that is not dealt with, but lies there in the background. Not really used as an argument and rightly so because it’s an issue that should be handled on its own.

There is an accusation of the molestation of a couple of boys (children young adults) by Premananda Prabhu (PP). There is a recorded talk with at least one of the mothers of the molested boys.

The biggest indicator that our sangha is sick, is that this is not being dealt with. Why?

The only reason I can fathom is because there is no authority to deal with it – the sannyasi council or whatever have no real power to enforce rules and restrictions on anybody. I don’t know. This is very disturbing.

This is not a case of deviation – something between two consenting adults. These are allegations of a crime. A crime should always be reported to the police – preferably in both india and the country of origin of the boys/young adults.

These are allegations – so it’s not something that has been proven. But it should be investigated. By the police and by the sangha.

In such cases there should be one devotee who has the main responsibility to take care of the family of the victim, and one devotee with the main responsibility to take care of the alleged perpetrator.

The alleged perpetrator should never be allowed to be alone with any person below the age of 18 until the claims have been resolved.

The discussions regarding siddhanta is actually a healthy sign of the sangha – it means it’s alive and kicking. But this – this is the real test because it requires so much cooperation, tender management and know how.

PP has been empowered to build Gurudevas samidhi and does a wonderful job at that. His followers are enthusiastic and receive a lot of joy from working with him. This is not something to marginalize in any way. All I’m saying is that these allegations needs to be dealt with and resolved somehow.

There can be no room for such allegations to run amok within our community.

Update 08. october: When I first heard the rumor I was told it was children involved. Now that I have more sources and evidence, this seems mistaken. The alleged victims involved are young adults. Though we are still speaking of a crime, it lessens the heaviness of the issue a lot. So this should be noted by everyone.

I need to point out that this is something I have decided to publish on my own (like everything on this blog). It’s not something I have asked any devotee from KBM about.


What to believe?

The question of authenticity of the biography of Premananda Prabhu has reared it’s head again with Bhaktivedanta Damodara Maharaja. Then comes the refutations.

Damodar Maharaja points out specific flaws in the biography from Premananda Prabhu with page numbers, and especially whether these stories can be verified. The refutations claims the stories can be verified, but points to one person who is dead and therefore can’t speak for himself. Then of course, they claim that two devotees following Premananda can verify it, whereby Damodar Maharaja claims they may be lying.

So who to believe? It goes into the heart of difficulty: “Who to trust?”

We would like to think devotees are inherently trustworthy, but that may not be so.

How do we know if somebody is a pure devotee or not? Followers of Prabhuji claims he is, KBM claims he isn’t. The followers of KBM claims Didi and Madhusudhana Maharaja is Bhagavats, others think they are imposters and fabricators.

Who to believe?

First time I met Gurudeva, Aranya Maharaja (now Prema Prajojana) said I should take Harinama from him.
Me: “But I don’t know if he is a pure devotee. Should I take Harinama if I’m not sure?”
Aranya Maharaja: “Yes”.

In some ways I was tricked into taking Harinama, but I was lucky. Gurudeva turned out to be a pure devotee. But how could I have known He was? I didn’t have the vision to know and I still don’t. My way of reasoning was that He had such a great many followers, so therefore I had to take my trust in them.

Now we are in a position where we have so many groups and differences between them. What to belive?

“The path of bhakti is very small”, I saw in a comment from one of the devotees from KBM. It’s true.

A person may have served and surrendered his life to Krishna and his Guru, but it doesn’t mean he is a Bhagavat. There may still be so much aparadha there, a desire for followers and fame. It’s possible to serve Krishna tinged with self-service.

I’m one of those. I want to live a comfortable life while being a devotee. Because of this I also know that I can’t fool around. When I decide to take siksa from someone, I want it to be authentic.

We have to guard our creeper of devotion.





Krishna will cheat us if we have some self-service in us. Many follow Gurudeva blindly. I’m not one of them, even though I have taken diksa from Gurudeva. For me this world is the real one, so if what He tells me is true, He has to prove it every step of the way. So far Gurudeva has proven it in the personal growth I have had, and that I see how what He says aligns with that. But in my perspective, Gurudeva has to prove himself to me. He’s the one with the outrageous claims of a spiritual world we can enter, so He’s gotta prove it. I will use my intelligence every step of the way.

When I first heard and saw pictures of Bhakti Vijana Bharati Maharaja I felt an attraction to him. Then the debate between KBM and the rest of the sangha happened, and I had to use my intelligence to understand the siddhanta. I found that Didi and Madhusudana Maharaja presented the siddhanta expertly and convincingly. Since then I went to Vrindavin last Christmas and will go again this Christmas. Do I believe Didi and Madhusudhan Maharaja is Bhagavats? I don’t know. I know their followers believe so. I’m still on the fence, but I find their way of challenging the status quo to be interesting. That is what makes me curious. I see how the siddhanta is presented deeper than I have been able to penetrate – that makes me curious.

What is it that makes us want to follow somebody? For me it’s about the level of siddhanta they can present. If I struggle to follow it, I love it because it challenges me to go deeper, understand more. That attracts me.

What attracts you? Why does it attract you?

Bhakti – Love is an emotion. Who to follow should not only be an emotional decision. It also needs to be grounded in intelligence. Use it whatever way you decide.

On uniting the sanga

12928328_543883805780471_5052467027475221778_nBhaktivedanta Vaikhanas Swami has written a couple of statements in regards to Tirtha Swami who has invited Bharati Maharaja to visit and initiate disciples in the sanga. I haven’t really followed this debate because I find it to be… well, not as siddhantically based and therefore not as interesting.

But Vaikhanas Swami latest post on the other hand caught my attention, mostly because of the hilarious picture he attached.

The background is as following: Tirtha Swami made sexual advances towards a couple of teenage girls which was unwanted. Afterwards when this became official, there were a lot of back and forth where Tirtha Swami acknowledge this situation, then he retracted and said it never happened etc. He accepted no punishment and kept on going like before. This was the point where the sannyasi board (I think) found out that they had no authority to extract any punishment and really do anything. Tirtha Swami continued like nothing had happened.

This happened in 2012, four years ago.

What interested me in the latest statement by Vaikhanas Swami is this:

What I am seeking is positive input and recommendations on how to move forward as individuals and communities. What could we do to improve relationships, build trust, define ourselves and our values, develop projects, and take care of one another- all these things.

I think all of these situations occur to help the sanga increase their tolerance and communication skills.

One of the immature ways of dealing with offenders or people who holds different siddhantic understandings from “us” is to ban them: We don’t want to see or hear them. But banning doesn’t really solve any problems, the issue will remain. If a sannyasi falls down, it will not help to ban a person and it will especially create havoc for the fallen person. This will not be in the best spiritual interest for the fallen person or for the sanga. We have to learn how to deal with such person and let them stay in the sanga, but with constant supervision (if we are talking sexual offenders). We have to learn how to interact with a person where we despise the persons actions, but not necessarily the person. This also goes for people we disagree with siddhantically.

I think another problem for the people in the sanga is that they want the sannyasis to be something they are not (liberated, maha-bhagavats). We want people to uphold the highest ideals, so that we can just follow and not put any effort into our understanding. Just let that sannyasi define everything for us.

Life is now showing us that this is not the case in most instances. We have to be very careful where we put all our faith. And even then, we need to think for ourselves. In siddhantic debates, use your intelligence to figure out the solution rather than being told what the truth is.

If we want change and progress, then we have to do it

Exactly, it begins in our hearts with asking ourselves what is the most loving response to this situation that can help all parties.

Since I’m so far removed from all these problems, I may be too optimistic, but I don’t really think of all of this as our sanga fractioning. Why? Because we all are dedicated to Gurudeva – that will not change though we have different ideas about how to be dedicated. Personality differences will always be there, people will disappoint you, people will not act the way you want them to be, people will not have the personality you want them to be.

People will seek siksa from different sannyasis. This is a natural evolution and they don’t abandon Gurudeva in the process.

When I was in Vrindavin I met one devotee which I had previously disagreed with on this blog. She remembered me and we got talking (though she knew nothing of the blog). I told her how she had helped me in service. I may disagree with her in one instance, but I’m still indebted to her because she has shown me how to do some service. She is my senior and she is lovely. I would never hit her on the head about how we disagree on something. It’s not important.

If we want to unite the sanga it begins with your heart. It begins with you smiling to the other one and say haribol, creating a connection that can survive any differences. It begins with just showing that you care about a person, differences be damned.

And the devotees keep on coming with gems of quotes:

Devotee: Why are there so many conflicting ideas for the ISKCON movement?

Gour Govinda Swami: Bah, stop it! There is no conflict. No conflict. No conflict. You are a mad fellow. There is no conflict, no confusion. It is all clear, bābā. Conflict and confusion are within you. Therefore you see conflict. If you put on yellow glasses, everything looks yellow. A man sees the reflection of his mind. In your mind there is conflict and confusion, and therefore you see it outside.

When Hanuman went to Ravana’s capital Lanka, he was extremely angry because the demon Ravana had kidnapped his master’s wife, Sita. Out of anger, Hanuman’s eyes were red hot. Ravana had kept Sita in a very lovely garden, called the Ashok Van. Aśoka means, “no lamentation”. That garden was extremely beautiful. Ravan had brought so many varieties of nice flowers, fruits, and birds from the heavenly planets. In that garden were many wonderful ponds and springs. Hanuman went there, but he saw no variety. He saw everything red, because anger was inside him. His eyes were red hot. Do you understand? Are your doubts clear?

Devotee: No.

Gour Govinda Swami: No? Why not?

Devotee: For instance, when Srila Prabhupada was directly present, everything in ISKCON was under his direction.

Gour Govinda Swami: He is still directing, but you can’t see it. You have no vision. It will take time for you to understand. Be patient and wait, wait, wait. All these problems are inside you. The conflict is within you. Therefore you see such things outside.
— From a lecture in Bhubaneswar on 23 March 1993.


Devotee: Some of the senior devotees are very concerned for the work you have done, on our behalf and for the whole world. We are concerned that it will be preserved, now and in the future, as much as possible. Kala may come and change it all.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I know that you want this, but if you are not developing your own Krsna consciousness, you will never be able to do anything.So try to develop.
[Devotee:] We need this sanga to develop. For so many years we have tried to practice on our own, and now we have found a home where we can have like-minded devotees; so we are concerned.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I know you will try, but at last you will see: “Oh, zero.” I know this. This world is controlled by Kala (Time) and kali-yuga. Kali-yuga will not give you permission to do all these good things. You will make a plan, and in a moment the result will be zero.
[Devotee:] Should we try though?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You should try. To try is bhakti. But I never want that rules and regulations should govern bhakti. Some persons forcibly tried to give lessons and control other devotees by kicking them out of the mission. I told them that this is against bhakti. When they did not want to follow my advice, I told them it was better for me to resign; and still I will help in all ways. Now I am satisfied.
Try to realize. Do bhajana and don’t be engaged too much in these things. I am never involved in this.
You should realize my mood, and if you don’t realize it you will have so many troubles. I have served my Gurus a little, and that is why I do some little bhajana. That is why I can reconcile all these things, and I never become unhappy. I have never been unhappy in my entire life.
[Devotee:] So you are saying we can try, but our bhakti should not be disturbed.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, you should do that; and I will be happy

Translation faults: Gurudeva said… what?

One of the main arguments of the madhurya-rati side is the insistence that they follow Gurudevas words, the underlying understanding is that the sakhya-rati side does not follow Gurudeva. They point this out with quotes like the one below from the site:


The mixed-rati side claims that Gurudevas words are open for interpretation where he never specifically states that Srila Prabhupada is a manjari, but instead focuses on the madhurya aspect of Srila Prabhupada.

So, whenever there’s a philosophical debate it becomes important that whatever translations of Gurudevas words are as close to the original message as possible. The madhurya rati side have brought forward especially one such quote which deviate a little bit from the audio. The deviations has been marked with uppercase letters.

Walking with a saint – 2008, page 238


Sayarsi dasa: One of my god-brothers named Maha-mantra, took sannyasa within Isckon society and is now living in New Vrindavan. He talks about and follows the path of sakhya rasa. He says that Srila Prabhupada is a priya-narma-sakha.

Is it possible for Srila Prabhupada to be a manjari and at the same time train his disciples who are in sakhya- rasa?

Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja: All rasas- santa ,dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya are present in the gopi”s madhurya mood. The gopis can manifest santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya.

Sayarsi dasa: Is it okay for a particular disciple whose stayi-bhava maybe in sakhya-rasa to see Srila Prabhupada as a priya narma cowherd boy?

Srila Narayan Goswami Maharaja: SOMEONE CAN THINK LIKE THAT, IF HE DESIRES BUT he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong. 

Brajanath dasa : That sannyasi quotes from Jaiva Dharma, where Vijay Kumar and Vrajanath see their guru in two different ways. One sees him as a manifestation of Subal as Priya-narma -sakha, and the other sees him as an intimate sakhi of Srimati Radhika.

Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja: Actually, pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has come in line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Goswami, so he must be like them. He has written this in his books”

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: He has written that “I am a servant of Srimati Radhika”

This is the translation from the audio itself, Houston morning walk 30th may 2008: 09.30 minutes in.:

Sayarsi dasa: One of my godbrothers have taken initiation within isckon society in New Vrindavin

Srila Narayana Maharaja: What name?

Devotees: Maha mantra dasa

Srila Narayana Maharaja: I know him very well.

Sayarsi dasa: He has been talking about preya rasa, cowherd boy fraternal relationship, he has been following this path and he has been saying that Srila Prabhupada is a priya-narma sakha. That can also be true if he is manjari, he can also train his disciples who is only in sakhya rasa?

Srila Narayana Maharaja: You should know that in gopis mood, all rasas are there. sakhya, dasya, vatsalya all are included. They can manifest sometimes santa rasa, dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, madhurya rasa. All.

Sayarsi dasa: But  for that particular disciple who may be sthayi bhava, may be sakhya rasa. Srila Prabhupada may be appearing to him like a cowherd boy, like a priya-narma sakha?

Madhava Maharaja: This is a conclusion of his mind.

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: This sanyassi is saying that Srila Prabhupada my Swami Maharaja in in sakhya rasa, he is a priya-nama-sakha. That is his conclusion. His idea.

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Oh, he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong.


Sayarsi dasa: But if he, maha mantra maharaja is …

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Let him do, no harm.

Madhava Maharaja: But even if maha mantra maharaja himself, radha krishna, how he himself

Brajanath prabhu: He tries to explain like in Jaiva Dharma, Vijaya Kumara and Brajanath. One is  seeing him like Subala, like priya narma sakha, another like an intimate sakhi of Srimati Radhika.

Srila Narayana Maharaja: Anyone can be like that, no harm, but actually for Swamiji he was not in this.

Devotee: Manjari

Srila Narayana Maharaja: He has come in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami, so he must be like them. Because he has written in his books.

Sripad Bhagavat Maharaja: I am the servant of Radhika. He has written like that. I am the servant of Radhika.

The first part of the added words is: “SOMEONE CAN THINK LIKE THAT, IF HE DESIRES BUT he is quite wrong. Wrong and wrong and wrong.”

If we hear the original audio, we see that what is wrong can be understood based upon the listener’s understanding. We can also understand that Gurudeva is saying that a priya narma sakha only have sakhya rasa to be wrong, that priya narma sakhas also have madhurya. So this quote can be understood both ways – as a validation for both the mixed rati and madhurya rati side. The change also makes the mood heavier, it really emphasizes what the madhurya rati side wants to be true.

If we deviate too much from the original message, we may come close to the quote: “If anyone thinks he can correct the writing or teachings of our Gurudeva”, however intentionally or unintentionally it’s done.

The madhurya rati side have linked to this qoute, sometimes with the last sentence added: “THANK YOU FOR READING SRILA GURUDEVA”S OWN WORDS!!!”

One of my favorite pages on Facebook is Gaudiya Vedanta Publications, and especially when they come with information on new publications. I think they are doing a good job. So please, try to stay close to Gurudevas own words. We now see how important this is whenever some philosophical debate arises.

yuga-dharma pravartāimu nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri bhāva-bhakti diyā nācāmu bhuvana

I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age, nama-sankirtana. I shall distribute the four mellows of devotional service (dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya).

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.19

How to recognize a sadhus mood

Nemi Maharaja posted a new entry in regards to why he believe that Srila Prabhupada is a gopi. It’s a nice reflection on why he believes what he believes without the “fighting” or “we must defend” mentality.

I have truly appreciated and loved the feeling behind the last two postings he has. This is responses where the temperature has fallen in the debate and instead a loving mellow is seeping through. It’s just so nice! It’s so wonderful to admire the response of a person who you disagree with. It’s so lovely to admire how he presents his case. This is beauty.

I also very much appreciates that Nemi Maharaja kept his posting public. It takes a lot of strength to posts publically and spend the time dealing with comments, but Nemi Maharaja is doing the effort. There usually is a lot of inappropriate comments when they do so, but my take is that it’s an opportunity to work on an individual. There may be inappropriate comments, but by dealing with them authentically we can hopefully raise peoples awareness while still disagree. The bad side, we don’t see any change happening as this usually take a lot of time. I’m sorry to see that many devotees only posts controversial issues among their friends, though I do understand that dealing with the repercussions can be very hard.

So, let’s speak on the message again. Nemi Maharaja again goes back to the view that Gurudeva lied to his disciples. I’m sorry to see the word “lie” coming back. I slowly had to understand that this isn’t about lying, but that Gurudevas words can be intepreted both ways. Gurudeva speaks in a hidden way. So can we please instead use something other word than lying? For example, I used to refer to this debate as a “controversy” and “conflict”. I have moved away from those words and instead use “debate” and “discussion”. I saw how these words increase the division and conflict, and therefore I changed how I wrote. Words have power. We have a responsibility to consider how we use them. At least I hold myself responsible and to keep on improving how I relate.

“There are so many higher realities that Srila Prabhupada never talked about, because we were not ready.

In any case, Srila Gurudeva did not have to make up stories to attract us. He is not such a feeble and inept preacher.”

So very true. But didn’t Gurudeva explain Srila Prabhupada to the iskcon devotees and revealed so much understanding that was missing…. because you were not ready?

Is it so hard to imagine that may be the same can be true of Gurudeva. That there are so many higher realities that Gurudeva never talked about, because we are not ready? The rasa of Srila Prabhupada is one of these issues.

When we read the books of our acaryas, they reveal themselves and their mood. Each acarya sees the world through colored lenses. The color is the mood they have, so their understanding of madhurya is different depending on their mood. The Gopas know of the gopis and they know they have this madhurya mood, but their view on madhurya will be different.

But what is the meaning of madhurya? Madhurya means not to have any aisvarya. In madhurya you may have dasya-rasam, sakhya-rasam, vatsalya-rasam and sringara-rasam. Rasas are different. And those who spontaneously have an attachment toward a particular rasam they will cultivate it from the beginning and they will get it. Not all jivas must become madhurya-rasa or srngara-rasa devotees. But is is said that adya eva paro rasah-srngara rasam is the superior. Amongst all rasas, srngara-rasa is the supreme.

….For example, Dama and Sudama have their particular rasam with Krishna and those who are attracted by that rasan have to take them as their Gurus. Similarly those who have a tendency toward vatsalya-rasam have to accept Nanda or Yasoda as their Gurus. This in madhurya bhava. In this way the devotees will proceed.

Sri Guru-vani by Sri Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Gosvami Maharaja


Look at how Puri Maharaja define madhurya. No talk on manjaris etc. Acaryas writing and definitions reflects what mood (and understanding) they have. If you are a gopa, wouldn’t you consider your mood to be the highest and best? If you are a manjari, wouldn’t you consider your mood to be the highest? A manjari and a gopa meets and they begin to bicker about which mood is the highest. A gopa will say: “I built the temple with the highest point, so our mood is the best”. A manjari will say: “Krishna goes away from the temple to meet our svamini, so our temple attracts Krishna more”. So it will continue and it will be lovely because it’s a transcendental bickering.

Acaryas understand the vedas based on their mood. This understanding is important for us sadhakas so that we can get closer in understanding our sadhu-sanga.

Video by Nemi Maharaja

Nemi Maharaja has made a video explaining his point on why he means Srila Prabhupada can’t be a priya-narma sakha. The video is excellently made! The sound quality is fantastic, he explains his point in a very simple way that I think all devotees will be able to follow, the surroundings are nice and he keeps his message so short that everybody will watch the video to the end and not get lost on the way.

I mean, it was just excellently made! I loved it ! Quality in the making. Truly, excellent work.

Then there’s the message. The easiest way to counter his arguments is that priya-narma sakhas have sakhi-bhava, thereby he’s disregarding Gurudevas own words in his book Bhakti rasamrta Sindhu bindu p.254:

The priyanarma-sakhas are superior in every way to the three other types of sakhas. They are engaged in extremely confidential services and are possessed of a very special bhava (sakhi-bhava). In other words they perform confidential services for the preyasis (lovers) of Sri Krishna, they assist Krishna in meeting with the preyasis and they desire to give pleasure to them. These include Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, Ujjvala and Madhuma∫gala. Of these Subala and Ujjvala are the best.