Lost in translation: The rasa of Srila Prabhupada

The latest response by Krishna Balarama Mandira (KBM) to the whole “rasa of Srila Prabhupada” controversy is to scrutinize the translations (and action/words) of Srimati Syamarani didi. The latest response is connected to the translations of Syamarani didi of Gurudeva’s words where they argue that Syamarani didi has misunderstood Gurudeva’s words and they point to sound files and minutes into the lecture where this has happened.

Dear devotees,

When you read our Srila Gurudeva’s (Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja’s) books or transcriptions of his lectures, you assume you are reading his words. Well, it is not like that at all if Srimati Syamarani didi is editing them.

Syamarini didi and team answered by giving a general overview of how the translation process works, but did not enter into the specific points given by KBM.

Another response is outrage that anybody might critize their beloved didi who has done an enormous amount of service during the years and their egos just explode into characteristics like name calling.

rasa_sudeviI can’t help but laugh. I find this hilarious. Why? maya expertThis is why.

But okey, let’s get serious again.

Is Srimati Syamarani didi defamed? Well, a bit. The statement from KBM above is defamation. But – they give constructive criticism where they point to specific statements and how they may be interpreted differently. The problem is that many have the tendency to just read the defamation and then their minds go blank, the ego explodes and they are unable to hear anything else. That one sentence there is enough for people to completely loose the ability to clear-headed thinking and really consider the opinions stated. That’s why it’s so very important to stay clear of name-calling and characteristics of the differing side, because people’s mind have a tendency to cling to what they perceive as wrong doings and then that’s all they will hear. It’s an effective diversion worthy of Maya.

Furthermore, the Syamarani side considers KBMs response to be an attack on all the translations Syamarani have done. They are putting words/intentions into KBMs statement by saying that Syamarani has a hidden agenda and deliberatly deceived by concealing the truth of Gurudeva. This is an exaggeration of KBMs statement and are putting intentions where they might not be. So suddenly this whole debate isn’t only about what rasa Srila Prabhupada is in, but for the Syamarani side about defending the authenticity of Gurudevas books. Pheww, enough to get most people sweaty and Maya is laughing all the way to the bank.

How should we consider evidence? I know there’s a vedic viewpoints on evidence and I can’t seem to find it. So instead I go for the usual way; who provides the most “scientific” answer? KBM goes into specific statements, provide sound files and minutes where the statement were uttered and provide an alternative understanding.

Syamarani didi and editors doesn’t really respond to the specific statements, but instead go into a general way of how translations work. This is important information to be sure, but doesn’t really deal with the problem itself.

So, for now KBM is giving a very good argument and may be in time Syamarani didi and team will respond.

This is a very good way of dealing with conflicts. A conflict isn’t won by one side declaring it so. It takes time to gather arguments and statements and will continue over time. Usually, both parties will not agree on the statements of the other side. One just agrees to disagree, but hopefully one might be a little bit wiser in the long run. This is a mature way of dealing with controversial issues.

Though, the way statements are running and things are taken out of context and exaggerated – well, a learning curve is still needed.



Same old, same old

Ah, things doesn’t change much, does it? People change so very, very slowly.

So it’s back on track. On the same day, two different communiqués are published. One is on Bhaktabhandav and is about Sri Premananda Prabhu’s relation to Srila Gurudeva and the sorry state of Gurudeva’s samadhi. On backtobhakti there’s an article about how we all should just get a long, but not any reference on what this is about or how to actually resolve issues.

I’m so sick of this. It’s like a rerun of how isckon crashed after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, just much less ugly – which shows some progress after all to get on the bright side of things. Here’s the problem in a nut shell:

Our whole religion and organization is built upon the Guru system. You have one all powerful guy that pretty much runs the show. When that person disappears, everything breaks down. Why?

Since there is no organizational structure, no leaders and no recognition of leadership, it comes down to small chiefs who runs and bullies whatever they want. We follow those we believe are the most “spiritual”, which is a pretty subjective thing depending on the vision of each individual. So we have a lot of individuals running around, trying to gather up as much followers and power (money) and do some backstabbing if necessary. Small kings on small kingdoms.

To try to create some unification ipbsys have created an advisory board, but of course: Small chiefs don’t care much about advisory boards if it goes against their wishes. I have no idea if the advisory board itself works.

It takes maturity to deal with so much problems. It takes mature people guiding and working with people the whole time to be able to work itself through things.

Now, I can talk about how to deal with conflicts because there seem to be little knowledge on how to deal with it. First you confront a problem, have it clearly defined by the people having the problem and then you work through it. More articles of the type “you should not criticize” and the reference to the Harmony booklet is of no use. But of course, small kings don’t want to deal with problems unless it brings an advantage to them.

But most importantly, it only takes one individual to create a whole lot of good. Our whole parampara consists of one person who was enlightened and achieved so, so much. Our society is built around people and organizations, but our parampara is build on one person. There’s this mismatch there.

The veda’s clearly define that we need to approach an uttama-bhagavata. But it seems like what to do after an uttama.bhagavats disappearance is broken when there still is a sanga is in place, a resemblance of an organization. Or more to the point; it shows how broken we people are. Sure, the problems were there while Gurudeva was here, he just kept it in check. Sure, it’s not the first time Gaudiya Matha splits apart, it happened after the disappearance of Srila Kesava Maharaja as well. And Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, so there is certainly precedence.

I just don’t see a divine plan in it. It just seem broken to me.

And all the while, there is no proper samadhi for Gurudeva when all it takes is *one* person taking charge.