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Guru Mukha Padma Vakya
Umapati Swami comments on Amara Prabhu

I wonder whether Amara Prabhu actually read my article "Blacks and Slavery" before he commented on it. He writes, "Perhaps some devotees will never understand the dangers and harm that come from bodily discrimination and bigotry, but I feel that the majority of them do."

Since this was said in relation to my article, I suspect the remark was meant for me, so I challenge Amara Prabhu to find any statement of mine encouraging bodily discrimination. He may look anywhere he wants.

"Not surprisingly," writes Amara Prabhu, "I was rather disappointed in the response by Umapati Maharaja." Amara Prabhu, it seems, rejoices when Srila Prabhupada is denigrated and he feels disappointed when Srila Prabhupada is defended. Now that does say something about Amara Prabhu, doesn’t it?

Amara Prabhu writes, "[Umapati Swami’s] excessive attempts to rationalize every single statement ever made by Srila Prabhupada, especially on relative and subjective topics, undermine his own arguments."

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, to rationalize means "to devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for." I assume this is what Amara Prabhu means—that I have used faulty logic. So I present another challenge to Amara Prabhu. I challenge him to point out the defects in my presentation instead of just criticizing me for defending Srila Prabhupada.

At least Mother Niscala does that much. Although I disagree with her, I have to say that her articles are well thought out and presented in such a way as to facilitate discussion. Can Amara Prabhu do as much? If his logic is better than mine, let him show it. If it is wrong of me to defend Srila Prabhupada, let him show it by scriptural presentation. If my defense is "excessive," let him tell me exactly how much would be proper.

But I appreciate his comment that I care about every single statement ever made by Srila Prabhupada. I thought I was supposed to. Isn’t that what we sing about every day? Guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya, ara na koriho mane asa: "My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth."

I wonder what Amara Prabhu thinks about when he sings that. It does not seem to be what he feels, as he criticizes me for having just that attitude. Is it an empty ritual for him? Or maybe he adds something: "...the words emanating from his lotus mouth except when he speaks on relative and subjective topics."

And Amara Prabhu would like Krsna consciousness to follow the trend a bit more. "Any religious movement that remains inexorably rooted in some past era becomes extinct," he writes. "There are many examples. Krsna consciousness must always remain dynamic and adaptable to the times."

First of all, Srila Prabhupada said that Krsna consciousness was not a religion but a science: "Do not think that Krsna consciousness is a kind of religious faith. It is a science—the science of how to get release from the repetition of birth and death. It is not a system of religion, as people ordinarily accept some type of religion. Somebody’s a Hindu, somebody’s a Muslim, somebody’s a Christian. It is not like that. It is a science." (TQE)

Krsna consciousness, then, is not a religion rooted in some past era. It is a science, and it is rooted in the eternal Vedic culture, the culture in which Lord Krsna lives. We are trying to go to the spiritual world, most likely by way of a lifetime in whatever material universe Lord Krsna is appearing in. If we can’t get that far, at least we can go to the heavenly planets. In all of these places, we will be living in the Vedic culture.

We see many pictures of Lord Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill, but we do not see Him lifting the Empire State Building (although He could). Why not? Because Lord Krsna lives in Vrndavana, and the culture there is the Vedic culture. We should learn to like it.

We cannot change Krsna consciousness to accommodate Amara Prabhu’s particular sex problems. Does he follow the regulative principles? Fine. What goes on in his mind is his own business unless he wants to talk about it.

Does he break the regulative principles? Then he is guilty of illicit sex, and we cannot change Krsna consciousness to accommodate that.

"Srila Prabhupada presented the essential truth," writes Amara Prabhu, "and adapted the outward details to a certain degree according to time and circumstance. This has been done by all great acaryas throughout the ages and is a process that will no doubt continue into the future."

Is Amara Prabhu one of the great acaryas who can make adaptations? If not, he should stick with what Srila Prabhupada gave him. Srila Prabhupada left this world only 25 years ago. Are his teachings already part of a "past era"?

"We should therefore focus and preach on Srila Prabhupada's essential and timeless spiritual teachings," adds Amara Prabhu. "We should not dwell upon relative social statements that may change with time."

I agree. Let’s leave things as they are. Let’s not try to change Krsna consciousness to fit the relative social statements of today’s America, and let’s stop presenting Srila Prabhupada as an ordinary soul, subject to the four defects, speaking on "relative and subjective topics."

© Umapati Swami
CHAKRA 30 October 2001

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