Prabhupada's Godbrothers AVOID THEM! [Gaudiya Matha]
"My Godbrothers have no life for preaching work. All are satisfied with a place for residence in the name of a temple, they engage disciples to get foodstuff by transcendental devices and eat and sleep. They have no idea or brain how to broacast the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu." (02-13-04)
Download Rupanuga Letter - PDF
Tirupati 28 April, 1974
My dear Rupanuga Maharaja,
Please accept my blessings.
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of April 17, from Washington D.C. and I have very carefully noted the contents.
Regarding Mayapur, as you have begun this program should be regularly followed once a year: meet in Mayapur and chalk out activities for the year. Then, next year meet and see how far things are being done and if necessary make changes for responsible GBC and presidents etc. The meeting is very valuable and must be carried out regularly every year. But one thing is that at Mayapur last time most of the time was spent discussing but no program was made firm for the year. For example, our Tamala Krsna Goswami never proposed to go to the USA at the meeting but now he has decided to go back to the U.S.A. Of course you can go back, but if the matter is discussed at the meeting, then a GBC vote could be taken and they could have selected a replacement. Now this replacement I have to bother. It is not difficult for me, but why wasn't their discussion of the meeting. Now Karandhara has written asking to come back and I have called him to come to Bombay and if possible he can be engaged as GBC for India.
You are right about Sridhara Maharaja's genuineness. But in my opinion he is the best of the lot. He is my old friend, at least he executes the regulative principles of devotional service. I do not wish to discuss about activities of my Godbrothers but it is a fact they have no life for preaching work. All are satisfied with a place for residence in the name of a temple, they engage disciples to get foodstuff by transcendental devices and eat and sleep. They have no idea or brain how to broadcast the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. My Guru Maharaja used to lament many times for this reason and he thought if one man at least had understood the principle of preaching then his mission would achieve success. In the latter days of my Guru Maharaja he was very disgusted. Actually, he left this world earlier, otherwise he would have continued to live for more years. Still he requested his disciples to form a strong Governing body for preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He never recommended anyone to be acarya of the Gaudiya Math. But Sridhara Maharaja is responsible for disobeying this order of Guru Maharaja, and he and others who are already dead unnecessarily thought that there must be one acarya. If Guru Maharaja could have seen someone who was qualified at that time to be acarya he would have mentioned. Because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acarya. His idea was acarya was not to be nominated amongst the governing body. He said openly you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self effulgent acarya would be automatically selected. So Sridhara Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no ability to preach. In some of the camps the acarya is being changed three times a year. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp. Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation.
This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.
Our students who are making this political program must be fixed in one point that human society unless divided into the four classes and divisions is animal society. Among the animals there is no intelligence for self realization or how to make life successful. In human life intelligence is better than animals therefore they should know what is the aim of life and to educate human society there is the whole Vedic literature, of which the Bhagavad gita is the quintessence. The Supreme Personality of Godhead orders that there must be four division in human society, a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th class, like that, and the 1st must be ideal. If the whole society is full of rogues, thieves, drunkards, cheaters and demons, where is there question of decent government. There must be division so the lower class men may aspire to be second class men. So far we are concerned we are trying to train first class men. How much great responsibility we have to follow regulative principles, chant the beads, live with personal character etc. Regulative principles means to especially execute devotional service in terms of the revealed scriptures under the direction of the spiritual master. By fulfilling the regulative principles you come to the platform of spontaneous love for Krsna. Spontaneous love for Krsna is there already but is covered by the influence of Maya. The regulative principles are a device how to overcome the influence of maya and come to the platform of spontaneous love of Krsna. If we want to exist as first class men in society all our students must be induced to following the regulative principles. One shouldn't think artificially he has come to the spontaneous platform. That is sahajiyaism.
The GBC must be vigilant by following the regulative principles and teach by ideal character the presidents of the centers, and the presidents by their ideal character must teach the others then automatically all members of the whole institution will be ideal to the human society. Then we can dictate to administrators or sometimes take hold of the administration. In the absence of competent leaders we may take the post. But we must be very careful in the flow of the political movement we may not forget our ideal life. For example, Parasaram was a Brahmin but when he found the ksatriyas were mismanaging he killed them twenty one times and some of them fled to European countries. This is the history. So far we are concerned we shall keep ourselves in ideal brahminical position and if need be if no ksatriya or Vaisya is here we can take up their work as emergency. Our business is to create ideal ksatriyas and vaisyas but beyond that our real business is to keep ourselves as ideal Brahmins. If we are not ideal we cannot create others as ideal. Training is required for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes of social constitution. Persons who are not fit for being advanced by training are sudras or less than that. At the present moment in the world state, there are sudras and less than that. There are no ideal brahmanas or ksatriyas. But these four divisions are imperative. So our business is to keep fit as brahmanas and to train others to be ideal ksatriyas and vaisyas for advancing the whole society. As Krsna says in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
Tamala Krsna Goswami is going to Los Angeles and I shall give him instruction to join Madhudvisa Swami, Bali Mardan and Jayatirtha and reform the deficiencies. As soon as there is a little deficiency we must repair it or it will create a big hole and the ship will drown. So I have said keep fit. I saw this Vrindaban Candra and Prajapati as a little sentimental without thoroughly understanding. Without following the regulative principles advancement is doubtful, and one may fall at any moment.
As for drugs, not just one party, but everyone was involved. Our process is to reform. Everyone is under the clutches of maya. If we follow the regulative principles we can get out and come to spontaneous love. A diseased man is always under the clutches of disease. But if he follows the prescribed orders given by the physician he can be cured. Now, how to reform? If we ask him to go away the whole society will be finished. In the hospital many patients are there and the attempt is made to cure them, not to tell them to go away or to kill them. They try their best to cure them. If they tell them to get out of the hospital or if they kill them, that is easy.
Initiation should be given as a future hope, but we should be careful about the second initiation. As recommended by the president or GBC they should only do so when they are quite confident of a man. Otherwise, he should not be recommended. If you follow this principle it will be successful. Every day I am getting request for second initiation, but I do not know. The responsibility goes to the presidents who pick them. Unless they are thoroughly convinced second initiation should not be given. In the beginning we may be a little lenient. But if someone falls down after being initiated he should not be credited with second initiation.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Download Rupanuga Letter - PDF
Dear readers of this Letter. Pamho agt Srila Prabhupada.
There is one very interesting point regarding the letter from Srila Prabhupada to Rupanuga from 28th April 1974 in relationship to Sridhara Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada: "You are right about Sridhar Maharaj's genuineness. But in my opinion he is the best of the lot. He is my old friend, at least he executes the regulative principles of devotional service". I must say this statement of Srila Prabhupada really confused me for many years. He seemed to be making the point that Sridhar Maharaj was genuine and that he's the best of the lot and yet in the next breath he seems to be speaking sarcastically by saying "at least he executes the regulative principles of devotional service".
This seeming contradiction lodged within my mind, and did not surface until many years later at a time when I was visiting Alachua with Jitarati and my wife Lokadrsti. Jitarati wanted to meet with Rupanuga so I took the opportunity to accompany him. During our discussions with him "this seeming contradiction" that had been stored up for many years in my mind resurfaced. So I took the opportunity and asked Rupanuga to kindly clear up my confusion.
Rupanuga said that In early 1974 he visited the Asrama of Sridhar Maharaj. He spent some time there and his realizations were very clear and strong about what was going on there. He stated that Sridhar Maharaja was trying to attract devotees away from Srila Prabhupada and Iskcon and over to himself. After crossing the Ganges and returning to the Iskcon Mayapura centre this fact was transmitted to Srila Prabhupada by mail.
Now for me the mystery was unraveled. Without insight into what Rupanuga had personally observed at Sridhar Maharaj's asrama and without knowing what he had conveyed to Srila Prabhupada by mail one would be excused thinking that when Srila Prabhupada said in his response to RUPANUGA "You are right about Sridhara Maharaj's genuineness" that he meant that Sridhara Maharaja was genuine.
This of course is not the case. Rupanuga had made it clear to Srila Prabhupada that Sridhara Mahararaj was going against vaisnava etiquete and he was not acting as a genuine well wisher of Srila Prabhupada or Iskcon. Thus one can understand that when Prabhupada said "you are right about Sridhar Maharaja's genuineness" he was referring to the lack of it. "Srila Prabhupada said "He's genuine and the best of the lot" (many ex Iskcon Sridhar followers would say) This very unfortunate misunderstanding is one of the main reasons so many Iskcon devotees went over to Sridhara Maharaj's camp.
In India, especially, Srila Prabhupada's disciples were often in proximity to his God-brothers and prone to their influence, as indicated in a following letter to a sannyasi disciple:
Srila Prabhupada: "Their policy has been all along to suppress me and take credit… Their proposal for cooperation is a myth. They haven't done anything which is cooperative… you know they managed to write in such a way that Madhava is doing the world movement and we are his subordinates. From the beginning that has been their mentality. So there is no possibility of cooperation with them. They are not after preaching but material gain and reputation and adoration. Otherwise, why they are non cooperating with me? Do not think or indulge in loose talks. Be careful always. Let us do our duty of propagation sincerely and seriously on our own principles. Krsna and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura are our only hope and they are helping us…" (Letter to Achyutananda Maharaj, June 8, 1974)
Srila Prabhupada: "Do not be depressed. All along my godbrothers gave me only depression, repression, compression -- but I continued strong in my duty. So never mind there is some discouragement, continue with your work in full enthusiastic Krishna Consciousness attitude of service." (Letter to Guru das, August 29, 1972)
Two months earlier Srila Prabhupada had written a definitive letter, which is often quoted and often misunderstood. That letter was in response to a monthly report from one of his GBC zonal secretaries and it was widely distributed. The report had begun with a comment resulting from that devotee's hearing a statement from a most prominent God-brother of Srila Prabhupada. The comment was:
Srila Prabhupada: "Sridhar Maharaj "thanked" us for coming to Mayapura from all over the world to "encourage them in their work." But what work are they doing? Your God-brothers only revealed that they are kanistha adhikaris without any world vision of this movement. They have no manifest Vaisnava compassion of which you are the embodiment." (Letter from Rupanuga das to Srila Prabhupada, April 17, 1974)
By 1975, Srila Prabhupada found it imperative to make his wishes clear and instructed his personal secretary to send the following to all ISKCON members (verbatim, including the crossed out portion):
8 November 1975
NOTICE TO ALL CENTERS
Prabhus, please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada has asked me to write to you to make it very explicit that there should be no dealings between you and Prabhupada's so-called godbrothers. They are all jealous and are all trying to do harm to our mission and also to Srila Prabhupada. So without Srila Prabhupada's permission, no one should correspond with any of them, and no one should have anything to do with any of them, without asking Srila Prabhupada. No one should give them any of Srila Prabhupada's books, no one should purchase their books, no one should visit their temples without authorization. I hope this is clear. It is very important. Please instruct all your devotees regarding this. [crossed out words] And when the devotees come for the annual festival, you should also instruct them not to visit or have any dealings with any of the godbrothers. I hope this is clear and I hope this meets you in good health.
Personal Secretary to
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada
The history of all the trials and tribulations instigated by his Godbrothers will not be lost in the annals of time. Srila Prabhupada immortalized the true story in his letters, lectures and purports, indelible sastra, for everyone's education. He set the record straight for future followers and readers. For example, in Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, 7.95-96, he writes:
"Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, at the time of his passing away, ordered all of his disciples to work conjointly to preach the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one of them wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the order of the spiritual master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this; however, the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our spiritual master and started in a humble way -- in a helpless way -- but due to the spiritual force of the order of the supreme authority, this movement has become successful."
Similarly, during a lecture in Philadelphia in July, 1975, Srila Prabhupada reminded his disciples:
"You must know what is your duty, from guru. You are singing every day, 'guru-mukha-padma…' Are you not singing daily? But do you understand the meaning? Or are you singing only? Yes, this order 'guru-muka-padma vakya cittete koriya aikya.' Now cittete means consciousness or heart. 'I shall do this only, but my gurumaharaj told me, I shall do it.' So, it is not my pride, but I can say for your instruction--I did it! Therefore, whatever little success you see, than my all God-brothers, it is due to this. I have no capacity, but I took the words of my guru as life and soul. So this is fact, 'guru mukha padma vakya,' everyone should do that. But if he makes addition or alteration, then it is finished. No addition or alteration."
Srila Prabhupada had offered ample opportunity to his God-brothers to cooperate with him and work conjointly, especially Sridhar Maharaj. On a number of occasions he tried to convince his God-brother to be a partner in ISKCON. But Sridhar Maharaj maintained his concept of independence, remaining at arm's length, unable to make a meaningful agreement. Such occasions were reminiscent of the old storefront days at 26 Second Avenue, when we learned that "Swamiji" had "God-brothers" back in India.
"God-brothers" sounded impressive! Surely some of them would come and help us spread this great movement across America! It was such a big task to think of in such a little storefront. but we were soon to learn there would be no reinforcements. And a decade later nothing had changed, not really.
Finally, on November 8, 1977, when he was about to depart this visible plane Srila Prabhupada, the emblem of Vaisnava humility, begged forgiveness for his offenses to his God-brothers. As the master of Vaisnava etiquette, he knew well the custom that at the time of death the devotee should show regret for any offenses he may have committed knowingly or unknowingly. But the truth is, as Srila Prabhupada stated during a room conversation a few days before he disappeared, "I have never done anything inauspicious to anyone."
Factually, it was his God-brothers' opposing behavior which had been inauspicious. And when he said, "The war is over," he was simply saying that now that he was going, the war should stop. But that war was not Srila Prabhupada's war, it was a war declared and maintained by his God-brothers and he didn't want the war continuing against his disciples after his departure.
Near the end, Narayana Maharaj, a disciple of a God-brother, was being employed by Srila Prabhupada as a messenger to his God-brothers. The gist of the message was simple: "Help, don't hinder them." That was it. He was not asking Narayana Maharaj or anyone else to instruct his disciples in the future on how to manage a worldwide preaching movement and he already instructed them on numerous occasions not to fight amongst themselves. He wanted Narayana Maharaj to assist in the arrangements for the upcoming samadhi ceremony and the requisite paraphernalia and rituals. Srila Prabhupada, after the events of 1967, never instructed his disciples to accept guidance from his God-brothers. Just the opposite. But he did mention to the GBC that if they reached an impasse on some technicality or philosophical point they could (not should) consult with Sridhar Maharaj, and he indicated no one else. Of course, it would be hard to imagine a philosophical question which could not be answered from Srila Prabhupada-vani.
In any case, after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, when his ISKCON was in chaotic condition, members of the Gaudiya Math encouraged and received ISKCON refugees with open arms, thereby attaining a temporary jolt from the infusion of preaching spirit already inculcated in those devotees by Srila Prabhupada. Sometimes some of those devotees say that the troubles in mainstream ISKCON are due to offenses to Sridhara Maharaj and/or other members of the Gaudiya Math. But the problems in mainstream ISKCON are actually due to the same cause that has been the bane of the Gaudiya Math's existence -- neglect of the orders of the Founder-Acarya.
Many of Srila Prabhupada's initiated disciples have left the jurisdiction of "mainstream" ISKCON over the years since Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, most often for good reasons not to be delineated here. But leaving Srila Prabhupada himself is another thing and/or accepting another spiritual preceptor as equal to or greater than Srila Prabhupada is a great mistake, a valid excuse for which cannot be found moving hell or heaven.
Generally, the Gaudiya Math's condescending attitude towards Srila Prabhupada has not changed really, considering the fact that over the years they have attempted to create an artificial competition between
Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur as to who is the last Acarya (capital A) in the parampara. They consider Srila Bhaktisiddhanta to be the uncontested last great Acarya, to be presumably succeeded by all of his disciples (each of whom would be on the top of the list for their own disciples). Some see Srila Prabhupada and Sridhar Maharaj as the two equal successor Acaryas to Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur.
One disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who joined the Gaudiya Math early on, is fond of a saying he attributes to Sridhara Maharaj: "Two eyes are better than one," which is of course true. But the implication is that by having both Srila Prabhupada and Sridhara as equal guiding authorities, one can make better spiritual progress. And of course, Sridhara Maharaj was still a 'living guru' at the time. But the analogy has serious flaws, because it is a fact -- as confirmed by any optometrist -- that one eye is always the weaker, the 'weak sister,' and one eye is dominant or stronger. And from the disciples' side, a disciple's two eyes can focus only upon one object at a time. Actually it is a physiological impossibility ordinarily that one eye can focus on one object while the other eye is focused on a different object at the same time. No.
In this connection, Srila Prabhupada gives a nice example: another word for "swami" is husband and when a wife is unfaithful to her swami she is considered a prostitute. Similarly for a disciple who is unfaithful to his spiritual master. Besides, no one takes the utterances of a prostitute very seriously. In addition, it is known from the preaching of Prthu Maharaj in the Srimad Bhagavatam to his future constituents, that to praise someone for having superior qualities he is yet to demonstrate or develop in the future is administering poison to that person.
To summarize and conclude, it was the great fault of the Gaudiya Math leaders that they could not recognize Srila Prabhupada's spiritual leadership. At bottom, they could not adjust the fact that the "paka [pukka] caliber grhastha",* Abhaya Charan das Prabhu, became the "self-effulgent acarya" Srila Bhaktisiddhanta predicted, and had emerged by word and by deed as the obvious Acarya of them all, indeed of all the Vaisnavas and the whole world! But since they could not recognize their own spiritual master as World Acarya and venture forth to foreign lands as he desired, it is not surprising that they could not fathom the magnitude of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's heroic accomplishments. Certainly they were jealous of the fact that he did what they could not do. And that stymied their intelligence. (posted from rupanugadas.com)
(right) Srila Prabhupad with Rupanuga das and the other original members of the Bhaktivedanta
Institute, surrounded by the New Hastinipur devotees and guests. The devotee standing behind
Rupanuga das is Brsakapi Prabhu, the temple president. Seated L. to R., Swarup Damodar das
Brahmachari and Sadaputa das Adhikary, with Madhava das Brahmachari far right. July, 1976.
We are happy to announce that Rupanuga Prabhu, very senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is now online with a new website featuring many of his excellent articles about the unauthorized changes made to Srila Prabhupda’s books. Please visit his website and read the many wonderful articles about the book changes, and also his many wonderful remembrances of Srila Prabhupada.
born Oct 1939.
BA in psychology Feb. ’63.
Attended Columbia School of Social Work briefly in 1966. USMCR 1957-1963.
Bhaktisastri Sept. ’69.Initiated Oct 1966 by Srila Prabhupada, New York, while employed as training supervisor at the NYC Dept. of Social Services.
Relocated to Buffalo NY in Feb. 1968 to establish ISKCON’s first college program while employed as a social worker at the State Workers Compensation Board.
Devotees recruited in Buffalo established centers in Toronto, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, and farm projects in Tennessee and Louisiana. Others went to Japan, Hong Kong, and India.
Two more centers were established later in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in 1972-73. GBC member from it’s inception in July 1970 until resignation in late 1988, during which time also served as temple president 4 times.
Relocated to Alachua FL 1989. Independent market-gardening project (certified organic) — Greenarama Gardens — including prasad distribution 1990-1995.
Employed as an intake/eligibility interviewer Florida Department of Children and Families 1996-2003.
Relocated to Jacksonville FL in 2003. Now teaching philosophy and devotional principles on an individual basis.