THE PRABHUPADA PAGE
Nityananda and Srila Prabhupada
I'm not so sure that describing Srila Prabhupada as being a vessel of Nityananda Prabhu is essentially wrong, as some have stated. The guru and Krsna are one. This is our understanding.
When Srila Prabhupada arrived in the west, he took upon himself the role of Jagat-guru. Since Nityananda is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it could be said that He inhabited Srila Prabhupada’s body. Not that there was something unusual about that. That is the very definition of guru: the guru is God, not God absolute, but God in spirit. The guru is always inhabited by Nityananda. This is the mystic union of the sankirtan yajna.
I was very surprised when I read Eka Buddhi Prabhu’s original letter about "Did Lord Nityananda Enter Srila Prabhupada’s Body?" and the responses it generated.
Eka Buddhi Prabhu said that in a lecture on Nityananda Prabhu’s appearance day a person giving the lecture said, "Nityananda Prabhu had entered Srila Prabhupada’s body" and empowered him to preach. The person giving the lecture made the point, "If it was not for Lord Nityananda entering his body, and thus empowering him, how could you explain Srila Prabhupada’s success when so many other disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta had failed?"
The person giving this lecture said he had heard it from a Swami who had heard it from Sridhar Maharaj.
There are a couple of things that I feel need to be said here.
Are in Total Agreement with Me
First I must say I am most amused by those stating they disagree with me, when for the most part they are in total agreement, as in Raghavendu prabhu’s last two paragraphs, where he relates the vision of the monkey holding on, which is a wonderful example of my point. And again in Dvarkadhis prabhu’s statement "His undivided, unflinching faith in his spiritual master" was his qualification. I would like to add these quotes from Srila Prabhupada—
"So somehow, or other, it has begun, the blessings of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, as he wanted me, he desired me. So because he desired, my...I am not very expert or educated or nothing extraordinary, but only thing is that I believed in his word. That is...You can say that is my qualification. I believed cent percent in his word. So whatever success is there, it is just due to my firm faith in his instruction. So I am trying to follow. And by his grace, you are helping me. So actually, the responsibility will now depend on you. I am also old man. I may pass away at any moment. This movement should go on, you see, this movement started by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then accelerated by Gosvamis, and then again Visvantha Cakravarti. When there is some slowness, either Krsna Himself or some representative comes to give it a push. So you should know it, that this movement should be pushed on. This should not be neglected."
Prabhupada: Shaktyavesha Avatar
I cannot agree with the viewpoint of Eka Buddhi Prabhu in his article "Did Lord Nityananda Enter the Body of Srila Prabhupada?" I have been told that Sridhar Maharaja said that the Grace of Lord Nityananda entered into Srila Prabhupada (without use of the word "body"). What I heard was that this meant that Srila Prabhupada is a Shakyavesha Avatar of Lord Nityananda. Upon further inspection we will find that the Grace of Lord Nityananda is essentially the inspiration to distribute Lord Chaitanya's Sankirtan Movement to the Jagais and Madhais of this degraded Age of Kali Yuga.
We can judge by the results: Srila Prabhupada had this inspiration to the highest degree possible, to the infinite degree. In Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya Lila 20.12 ,we find, Kali-kalera dharma—krsna-nama-sankirtana/ krsna-shakti vina nahe tara pravartana. "The fundamental religious system in the age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Unless empowered by Krsna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement. The meaning of krsna-shakti vina is, "without being empowered by Lord Krsna."
Prabhupada and Nityanandavesa
I appreciate the sincere efforts of Eka Buddhi dasa in his article on Chakra to inspire everyone to become dynamic and dedicated in service to Mahaprabhu. ("Did Lord Nityananda Enter the Body of Srila Prabhupada?")
However, in that article, he presented a superficial understanding of Sridhar Maharaja’s glorification of Srila Prabhupada as Shaktavesa Avatar and Nityanandavesa. This understanding he admits came from at best third-hand knowledge of Sridhar Maharaja’s actual words on the subject. Therefore I thought it might be helpful to post those words and elaborate on them in light of revelations from our acharyas.
First of all we all heard from Chaitanya Caritamrta and elsewhere that no one could be successful in preaching Krishna consciousness unless he is empowered by the Lord. In the "Guruvastakam" of Visvanatha Cakravarti we are told that guru is the power of god combined with the dedication of the devotee. There the guru is described as the energy of God: saksad hari, but (kintu) prabhor ya priya eva tasya, he is dear (priya) to God as well.
While Anonymous didn't seem to fully understand my point, I very much respected his reply. I don't believe, however, that if this realization that Nityananda had physically entered Srila Prabhupada's body were universally accepted, that, that implies that "bhakti and purity would not be accessible" to our humble selves. We (well maybe not me, but you) are equal to the Lord in quality, but not quantity. Yoga means "linking up," and the disciplic succession is that chain. Just like grabbing hold of the rope on the Rathyatra Cart, we can grab hold of that chain. This is the point of initiation, to be on the path toward bhakti and purity. The spiritual master instructs through his words and deeds and thus we learn purity.
Don't Speculate about Srila Prabhupada
By Dvarkadhis das
I want to express my disappointment after reading the article "Did Lord Nityananda Enter Srila Prabhupada’s Body?" During the search for the answer to a simple question —"How is it possible?"— we should simply stick to Prabhupada’s own words. Srila Prabhupada clearly stated that the undivided and unflinching faith in his spiritual master had been his only qualification. There was no other reason for his success.
Now, if we start to speculate and think of any other reason, especially as stupid as the described one, we’ll come to a very dangerous area. First, such speculation appeared in ISKCON in 1970 in New Vrindaban. I think it’s a well known story, described by Satsvarupa Maharaj in Lilamrta in detail.
Responding to Eka Buddhi’s Article
By Anonymous Devotee
I would like to respond to Eka Buddhi dasa’s highly unusual and very mysterious article "Did Lord Nityananda Enter Srila Prabhupada’s Body?"
This is very mysterious because it seemed to come out of the blue as it were, but it seems almost inevitable twenty-five years after our beloved spiritual master left his body and wound up his glorious pastimes.
I don’t really know how to address this article. I have been associated with ISKCON for 22 years, and I never heard of this particular explanation. But it’s intriguing, to say the least.
What I do know, is that a devotee once asked Srila Prabhupada what his eternal spiritual form was, and I believe he said, "If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me."
Lord Nityananda Enter Srila Prabhupada’s Body?
The following quote was announced after the lecture given for Lord Nityanada’s Appearance Day: "Srila Prabhupada was able to do so much in America because at one point during his journey on the Jaladutta, Lord Nityananda entered Prabhupada’s body and gave him the power to accomplish so much. Lord Nityananda stayed in his body until the time of Srila Prabhupada’s leaving, at which time Lord Nityananda departed from his [Prabhupada’s] body."
At first glance this is a sweet, inspiring story. However, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something bothered me about it, so I approached the devotee who had quoted it and requested its pedigree.
I think the following quotes express Srila Prabhupada’s true mood:
Prabhupada: Krsna is black and we worship Him. (laughter) You have seen our Deity? Yes. Krsna is from your community. (Prabhupada laughs) There is no question of black and white. Krsna consciousness is above the skin — the soul which is there....
The Glorious Mission
by Yugala Kishor dasa
Time magazine printed an edition (Oct 29, 2001) with the Holy Name of Krishna. This is an important step in the right direction for it showed that another name of God is, indeed, Krishna. Millions of magazines were distributed in a single week by that giant firm. Finally, the American media is recognizing that the name of "Krishna" is a valid name of God.
If insult to Srila Prabhupada is not an issue for readers of this web page, I am definitely in the wrong place here. For me, this has been the only issue. I have no opinion on all the other things. The last thing that ever concerned me was the size or weight of anyone’s brain in this world. God knows that I have really more important problems in life to take care of. Others may be able to spend weeks on the internet and split hairs; I won’t.
by Bhaktine Shirley Goode
I’m a newcomer, and I really like to see the openness that the debate signifies. Never mind the pros and cons, who is right or wrong, just to have the openness that this debate implies, I was really appreciating that. I could be part of a society like that. And I was thinking of writing something to this effect, when I say that Radhavallabha dd practically took the words right out of my mouth.
Eka Buddhi dasa answers Robert Newman
To quote Robert Newman, "Such debates are intrinsically useless." I beg to differ on this one point, on all other points he makes, I would just like to say ditto. The debates between the Niscala side and the Umpati-Nikhilananda side are important in that they allow those who might sense that there are different levels of valid understanding to actually see how people interact in these situations.
Karuna das replies to Nikhilananda Prabhu
The question I posted was intended to provoke thought indeed. Do you want to fight abuse? Then you must first establish why is there abuse. There is no need for scriptural evidence for that. All you need to be is intelligent. Abuse means someone superior is taking advantage of this superiority to molest those who are less fortunate. Otherwise there is just no question of abuse.
Literalism vs Essence
by Ramacandra das
Thank you for addressing the question concerning literalism vs essence. It is not the differences in presentation of the acharya I am concerned with, Maharaja, but rather my personal understanding of the Bhagavata Purana or, for that matter, the Vedas in general. Any uncertainty in this area can be quite damaging and a Pandora's box of questions and doubts can open thus, staggering a simple minded but faithful follower.
Good Culture (in Reply to
Maharani Devi Dasi)
by Nikhilananda Dasa
If Niscala actually wanted to make a case for good culture, then she should have shown a good example herself, by being more respectful in the mentioning of the name of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Since Niscala had the nerve to make such bold statments on Srila Prabhupada and her first articles tried to teach us that Srila Prabhupada makes "mistakes," she should have the courage now, to honestly admit her previous error and apologize.
Do you deny spiritual realization? It is mentioned again and again in the scriptures. Srimad Bhagavatam tells us that great sages such as Narada, Dhruva, Prahlada, and Citraketu saw and heard the Lord but not that they became "critical thinkers," at least not critical of their spiritual masters. Can you show me any instance of a great sage being critical of his spiritual master?
I have studied the text by Karuna Prabhu on genders and races once again. After thinking about it more deeply, I feel sorry that I criticized his article. I think he made a valid and good observation, which is based on shastra. Only the end of it, which offers different choices of bodies, I did not like too much because some may misunderstand it as implying a sense of racial superiority.
Faith in Shastra
"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination." (Bhagavad-gita 16.23)
"But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. for the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next. " (Bhagavad-gita 4.40)
Since I lack intelligence and devotion there is no need to express my own views. However, I am fortunate to have a new book by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, called Vaisnava Compassion, which is relevant to the dynamic of the exchanges. From the Chapter "Reaping the Fruits and Learning to Live With Them," I humbly offer some excerpts for the consideration of thoughtful devotees.
with No Mercy?
I strongly disagree with the contents of Karuna's article. There is a racist touch to his conclusions which is not characteristic of the followers of Srila Prabhupada and which does not conform to the conclusions of Srila Prabhupada's teachings. The name "Karuna" usually means "mercy" or "compassion." There is however a lack of mercy and instead a cruel arrogance visible in his article which gives me cold shudders when I think of it.
I am sure Krsna Avatara did not mean to criticize Srila Prabhupada or ISKCON in the way that you imply. These devotees have been hurt and so they lash out, but actually it is a cry for help and understanding. We need to give that understanding in a compassionate and loving way. By doing this the victimized devotee will feel relieved and will continue in his service to Krsna with renewed vigor and will be happy to be a part of ISKCON.
Prabhupada's statements were never racist or sexist. They were simply realistic. Prabhupada was never into the "Imagine" dream propagated by those who want to destroy real moral and ethic codes. Certainly all human beings are fully entitled to become Krsna conscious with no impediment by race or gender or any other kind of material consideration.
Guru Mukha Padma Vakya
Umapati Swami comments on Amara Prabhu
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.
Solid Faith in Srila Prabhupada
by Nikhilananda Dasa (in reply to Niscala DD )
It has made me feel very sad that, in recent weeks, the Chakra web site seems to have agreed to serve as a platform for Niscala’s public campaign of trying to find faults in Srila Prabhupada. She presented her doubts in a very insulting manner. She arrogantly criticised Srila Prabhupada for having "antiquated views" etc., just like materialists who twist their beards and regard the teachings of shastra as being made of "antiquated views"
Sun, the Moon,
Now did I hear someone say "irrelevant"? Srila Prabhupada says, "conducive to the hearers for self-realization in the field of devotional service." Isn’t that what we are after? And how can you accept the description of the Lord’s creating the universe if you do not accept the descriptions of where he puts the planets? Here is where faith and blind following come in.
I can understand that you have been hurt, but it’s time to stop brooding over it. You have to go forward with your life and with your Krsna Consciousness. You have to work to make ISKCON the kind of society you want it to be. But first of all, you have to establish your faith in Srila Prabhupada. And I don’t mean faith in him as a glorified Sunday-school teacher. I mean faith in Srila Prabhupada as the perfect acarya, to whom everyone can surrender in all respects. Without that, nothing will work.
It’s very interesting that as devotees and followers of our beloved Jagat-Guru Srila Prabhupada, some people would suggest that he is "incorrect and perfect" at the same time. Someone also suggested that we can know about spiritual matters from him while looking for the answer to "the size of a woman’s brain" from others.
Did You Say, "Incorrect"?
Umapati Swami Answers
Madhava Ghosh and the Others
It is indeed all or nothing. I saw Srila Prabhupada stand up, his face red with anger, and shout with the force of a roaring lion at Kirtanananda for saying that "unto Me" means unto the unborn truth within Krsna. "Why do you want to take it away from Krsna?" Srila Prabhupada shouted. "It’s Krsna! It’s Krsna! It’s no unborn within Krsna! It’s Krsna!"
I was awed. I had never before seen such magnificence and power. "He looks like a lion," I thought, "and his roaring shakes the whole room."
You see, there is a catch to it. There is a trick, and I will gladly tell you what it is. It’s this: You have to accept Srila Prabhupada on Srila Prabhupada’s terms. You have to accept Srila Prabhupada in his entirety. You cannot disassemble Srila Prabhupada and just take the parts you like. It’s all or nothing.
Now some of the younger devotees may fear that by accepting Srila Prabhupada as a siddha they oblige themselves to accept all of the present ISKCON gurus as siddhas. That is not my stand. Each person has to be judged on his own merits. I, for one, am not a siddha. I am a reptile trying to crawl out of the swamp.
Therefore, I am arguing with Mother Niscala about the status of Srila Prabhupada and of no one else.
about Infallible Prabhupada
These are the same arguments now being advanced by Niscala and Maharani. The topics are different, that’s all. Kirtanananda rejected Srila Prabhupada’s statements about culture and sadhana, and Niscala and Maharani reject the statements about women, but the justification is the same: these topics are material.
with Doubts? A Neophyte Responds
In fact, the statements that Niscala dasi makes from this point on enter a bizarre nether world of distrust and doubt that for a neophyte can be very dangerous and lead one into impersonalism. There are many instances of this throughout the Vedic literature. For those of us who love Srila Prabhupada and what his mission was really all about, the entire article is a very painful one and must be properly addressed.
Dealing with Doubts
Those lacking transcendental vision may contemptuously view Srila Prabhupada and the Vedas, yet that does not bring suspicion upon the Vedas or Srila Prabhupada's words. Rather, it reveals ignorance and a lack of faith by the hearer. Vedic insight which does not fit into our conditioned framework of thinking should not be rejected nor amputated....
Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah. Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth. (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)
It is one thing to doubt transcendental authority and humbly beg for help. It is quite another thing to doubt transcendental authority and boldly insist that such doubts are valid. We applaud the former and seek to correct the latter.
In a recent article entitled Dogmatism and Infallibility, the author,
without any scriptural basis, has brashly asserted that "No jiva is
infallible, be he pope or guru or whatever. " He also states that those who
make unreasonable claims as to Srila Prabhupada's infallibility may be
"selfishly motivated." As we will see from the following evidence, it
is the author who has indeed made the mistake of accepting false knowledge, not
those who defend the infallibility of the spiritual master.
In a recent Chakra article, “Can the Guru Make Mistakes?” Niscala devi dasi says that Srila Prabhupada’s statements about women are antiquated and mistaken. “Srila Prabhupada,” she adds, “had both imperfect senses and made mistakes.”
And Mother Niscala has her followers. In “Infallibility vs. Dogmatism,” Thakur Haridas das applauds her. “No jiva is infallible,” he says, “be he pope or guru or whatever.”
I was shocked to read the following statement in a recent article by Niscala devi dasi entitled "Can the Guru Make Mistakes?": She writes, "A good example is his (Srila Prabhupada's) attitude towards women, which seems a bit antiquated."
If we think that the pure devotee is antiquated, then we are antiquated.
Faith in Prabhupada's Words
You have to choose a guru that you can fully surrender to otherwise you will only be a disciple of your mind. You can accept and reject on the basis of your mind of on the basis of the instructions of a liberated soul like Srila Prabhupada. And if you study Srila Prabhupada's teachings very deeply you will find he hits the nail on the head every time.
to "Can the Guru Make Mistakes?"
Niscala devi suggests a relative view of the spiritual master, particularly Srila Prabhupada, where disciples are free to accept or reject portions of his teachings. This opinion represents well the faithless, mundane scholars who always fail to understand transcendental knowledge by tinkering with Vedic literature. However, Niscala devi's own mentally-manufactured ideas are also subject to scrutiny and we are not obliged to blindly accept them.
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