BR Sridhara Deva Goswami

Swami - August 4, 2008 12:09 am



Conversation with Yasomatinandana Prabhu

March 6th, 1982


Sridhara Maharaja: So, you united yourselves and joined Swami Maharaja what for?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: For spreading Krsna consciousness.


Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, that is all-important, is it not? sarvadharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja. Not only non-religion, but all faiths of religion. We must forsake, abandon them only for Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is so valuable and so accomodating. So, we shall take all risk for Krsna consciousness. Sarvadharman parityajya. When I was young, I was a student of Bhagavad-Gita. When I used to come to this line sva dharme nidhanam sreya, para dharmo bhayavahah [ Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous. (Bg. 3.35) ], I felt discouragement. sva dharme nidhanam sreya. Where I am, my immediate duty, I must die for that, for discharge of duty. But whenever I would come to sarva dharman parityajya I got some strength of infinite character. Risk everything for Him. So, unity, everything is laudable as iong as it is connec tion with Krsna consciousness, for which Swami Maharaja went there empty-handed. I do not know less than you about Swami Maharaja; from before he joined the mission, until the last day of his life. He asked me from America, he wrote one letter: "I don't feel well, I may die. Should I die here working for Krsna consciousness, or I shall go back to India." I told him, "I feel that Prabhupada has given you that land for propaganda work. It is in my mind, so I shall say, 'You give your life up there, working."' And he took it up.


I knew him best. And when this Iskcon, the conception of Iskcon, the very word came before, when perhaps twenty years ago he began his actual life in preaching from a hired house in Calcutta. The Back to Godhead was published, and my article was there, and at that time he thought of Iskcon. But your have sacrificed so much. We have got also some exp erience of sacrifice in our mission in the time of our guru maharaja. And what for? That is all important, and that is not a very cheap thing. Krsna consiousness proper is not a very cheap thing. anyabhilasita sunaym jnana karmadi anvaritam anukulena krsnanu silanam bhaktir uttama. I When first class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. He must constantly serve Krsna favorably, as Krsna desires. (Brs.1.1.11)] muktanam api siddhanam narayana parayana sudurlabham prasan tatma kotisv api maha mune. [ O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krsna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare. (S.B.6.14.5)] What is Krsna consciousness proper is all important. Only in human life is it possible to begin, and that is also very uncertain. So, once connected, one should try his best to attain, to work towards [that goal] as far as possible. So, the spirit of the thing should be kept, as much as it is possible, and then unity, and management, administration, everything is well and good.


He came here at least five or six times after he began his preaching. Before that also, he came here numberless times; I also used to live by his side, next door. His laboratory was on the ground floor; I was on the first floor for a long time. Anyhow, when he began his translation of the Bhagavad Gita, it was in consultation with me in a very deep way. Anyhow, he requested me many a time that, "Please look after them; I am taking them this side. You have got some res ponsibility to look after them." In this way, my nature is to avoid; not very inviting, but still, be repeatedly came to me and requested me. In the first batch that he took here in India, he kept here in my care. And it was I who suggested to purchase land now where ISKCON is standing. Anyhow, I was also friendly. Now also I am so. But things are being turned opposite. When I heard that many dissatisfied souls are going astray, away from ISKCON, and some of them I knew personally, then I felt some pain in my heart: "Such good souls are going away?"


I gave some proposal to them that these persons should be accomodated, but they did not care to hear in the beginning. After a time, three important persons in the management were rudely treated. Then both the parties were aggrieved and came to me and I effected some compromise and they accepted and things went on well. Then also I find now and then evidently some persons are going away, and those persons that are in power, their power is growing; the men and money are coming in their hands. It is generally a trial for the acarya. I have got experience of at least fifty-five years, about the mission; so many split and I also tried to make a compromise and did a little something also. In this way, I am staying, passing my days.


I am of a little different character. I do not like any big company. Rather, I like more to read the sastra and to understand the meaning from it in different ways. I have written some poems in Sanskrit; some books also in Sanskrit and my mind is almost always busy to find out the real meaning to the sastric scriptures; the mantram or the sutram or anything. That is my nature generally, but when such things were occurring amongst some of them, some offended persons came to me and requested me to interfere in the matter, because Swami Maharaja said many things about me within his mission and disciples. So, some of them knew it and they asked me to interfere. Then when I gave some proposal, but they showed deaf ears. then I asked them, "Try to help in my name in a relieving way."


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Who did you ask, and in which case?


Sridhara Maharaja: Pradyumna came first with eighteen points of dissatisfaction. I reported it to Tamal Krsna. He was busy in his propaganda work. Then he told me, "Things are going on very well. I cann't go now. When I shall go during Gaura Purnima, I shall try to meet you." Then he came and went away, but did not care to meet with me. "Things are going on very well." Then one Yasodanandana, he was in charge of Vrndavan gurukula perhaps. He came, I saw he was a good man, but I heard that he [has become] indifferent. An important man has become indifferent. Then next they came [saying that] "Three gurus, they are unfit and they should be discharged and punished." They came to punish three gurus who had direct appointment of Swami Maharaja. Anyhow, I interfered, and some compromise was effected, in cluding Tamal Krsna Mahara; also. In this way, so many came and I am hearing and I told [them], "Go on with some relief work."


Yasomatinandana Dasa: I am here, as you say, for "unity". This is a "unity" effort only. "United we stand, divided we fall."


Sridhara Maharaja: I differ from you. Unity for what? Unity for a bad thing, that can create havoc.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Well, how can it be bad thing? Iskcon is meant for Krsna consciousness.


Sridhara Maharaja: I say that the ideal is all-important, and next, unity. Administration is the position of the ksatriya, and the acarya's work, that is for the brahmana who does not care for this worldly achievement. That is for the brahmanas, and administration is with the ksatriya, finance with the vaisya. This should be the general conception. So, those with brahmanic temperament, they should be concerned about sastric knowledge; that is their laksana [symptom]. sabde pare ca nisnatam [ The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments. S.B.11.3.21] Then in Gita,


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 soul can impart knowledge unto you, because he has seen the truth. (B.G.4.34)] and Bhagavat, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasu sreyah uttamam . [ Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bonafide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. (S.B.11.3.21)] and in Upanisad also, tad vijnanrtham sa gurum evabhigacchet, srotriyam brahma nistham. [ In order to learn the transcendental science, one must ap proach the bonafide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth. (Mundaka p. 1.2.12) ]. That should be the criterion of the acarya. Not a man who can conduct good administration, make money and recruit more men. That is not the criterion of an acarya. So, the dissatis fied, to help them, that was my advice to the discontented, and before this, there is one thing I should say: anyone who came to me and asked anything, they took it on tape, And that tape may be propagated anywhere and everyone, who comes, what ever I say, they take a tape of that. And they began to preach in their own way. In this way, then I heard that Dhira Krsna Maharaja, he took some tapes from me, and he has copied them, and he is spreading it amongst the public, and I was told that that was appreciated. And those that came to hear that tape; I am told that they had got some sympathy for me. In this way perhaps, some persons were attracted towards me through the tapes, and that is the cause of all this trouble. Those that can hear from me through the tapes, they are having some sympathy towards me, and they come to me seeking for help. I am here, and those that are coming to hear from me, irrespective of anyone, I speak.In this way, the trouble has arisen here. Some are more attracted towards my tape. Have you heard?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Yes, I very much appreciate, I had heard with him also last year. Only thing, that their point is that by hearing your. . .


Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, I also like...all of us are proud, those that have faith in Mahaprabhu, they cannot but be proud that Swami Maharaja has done such a wonderful work in his propagation, it is inconceivable to so many. And that his position and prestige will be diminished; that will be almost death to us. We want that Gaudiya Vaisnavism should have a spacious field. But still, the justice should be there.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Now, their point is that by hearing your tapes...


Sridhara Maharaja: Their point I have heard. They say that whatever will be the majority of the committee [GBC] that is Absolute. I differ there. I consider that you are all students in the line of truth, so don't think that you are all perfect. You are students. So, try to be accomodating, and strive to keep the standard.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: One thing they say is that by hearing your tapes the determination to serve in Iskcon should increase, but instead they are finding fault.


Sridhara Maharaja: One doctor [Ph.D. in neuro-physiology] was sent to me for intitiation. He was sent by one of the zonal acaryas, and perhaps he heard my tapes, anyhow he got some faith in me, and I initiated him. I have written one book, Prappana-jivanamrta, a compilation from many sources, and I have also composed some poems in Sanskrit. That doctor said that, ''Your writings are helping Iskcon in an inestimable way, making Iskcon more deeply rooted, and it is also enlivening." That remark came to me, and it is not impossible. Swami Maharaja spread Mahaprabhu's instructions very widely, and what I collected in that book, many very selected passages from many higher devotees, that can help the movement. In this way, my connection was to consolidate and make it deep-rooted, but unfortunately, things are going in such a way as if I am standing in the opposite party. But, I don't think so. I think that my inclination, my advice and my friendship with Swami Maharaja can help you a great deal on both sides. On the constitutional, as well as the spiritual ideal. This is my simple conviction. In my whole life, I had no ambitlon, and in my old age I am not such a fool that this time, at the cost of Iskcon, I will try to emulize my condition. [improve my position.]


Yasomatinandana Dasa: They have always had great reverence for you.


Sridhara Maharaja: Only when they did not differ with me.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: That is true, but whenever there was a personal crisis in Jayatirtha Maharaja's personal life, the GBC's directed him towards your good self. The only thing that they are a little bitter now, is that some of the people who have some criticism against the movement have...


Sridhara Maharaja: Reverence, reverence formally. What sort of reverence do they have towards me? Formal or material, substantial, spiritual?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Well, I think that for your knowledge . . .


Sridhara Maharaja: No, no, their reverence for me, it is in a formal way. I think. At least now they have proved like that. They are more particular with form management, and formal help they want from me. But I am not a man who is concerned with form only. I more like spirit than form. Rather, I like to be a form-breaker than form-maker, if it is necessary for spiritual upliftment.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: That's pretty heavy.


Sridhara Maharaja: And it is there: sarva dharman parityajya. What is that? What is the ideal? sarva dharman parityajya , and the highest goal: svajanam arya patham ca hitva bhejur mukunda padavim srutibhir vimrgyam [ the gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association oi their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. (S.B.10.47.61)] Are you acquainted with this sloka of Bhagavatam? Which is said by Uddhava? About the gopis of Vrndavana About their qualification? Are you acquainted with this sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: No. Kindly tell me.


Sridhara Maharaja: So you shold have connection with the highest ideal in Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Where to go? What is our destination? What for have we come to Iskcon? A general call Swami Maharaja has given to so many, crushing the pride of the present scientific civilization. But what for? What is our aim, highest aim? You must be conscious of that. What for have you come? You soldiers, you are arrayed to fight with maya, but what for? What is your aim? What is the conception? There are so many conceptions:Islam conception, Christianity conception, the Varnasram conception, Buddhistic conception, Sankara's conception, so many, but what is the Krsna consciousness that Swami Mahara; gave to you?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Our thinking is that we do not know Krsna, we have no qualification to know Krsna. But we know Prabhupada,


Swami Maharaja, therefore we want to serve him.


Sridhara Maharaja: What is your Prabhupada? There are so many spiritual masters in the world. What is the peculiarity of your Prabhupada?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: He is putting us at the feet of Krsna.


Sridhara Maharaja: Then what is Krsna? Did he not preach about Him? He preached about Krsna consciousness. And what is that Krsna conscious ness?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Surrendering to Prabhupada means preaching Krsna consciousness, and to practice Krsna consciousness.


Sridhara Maharaja: He captured your mind through preaching Krsna consciousness.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Right.


Sridhara Maharaja: And what do you find peculiar to Krsna consciousness that you left your previous religious ideas and joined Swami Maharaja? You took so much risk, what is that great Krsna consciousness? You must know that.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Yes, yes, we know. Whatever Prabhupada has taught us.


Sridhara Maharaja: Not hazy. You are simply taking the name of Prabhupada.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Krsna is the Supreme Lord.


Sridhara Maharaja: Krsna is the Supreme Lord, that is a vague word. Someone else will say that Allah is the Supreme Lord. Another will say that Jesus is the Supreme Lord.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Well, he has His name, form, paraphernalia, pastimes, they are nondifferent from Krsna .


Sridhara Maharaja: You have to know what is Krsna conception. Back to Godhead. What is that Godhead?


Yasomatinandana Dasa: We are being educated in our ISKCON society about that.


Sridhara Maharaja: That education is not a mere fashion. That is reality.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: Our guru maharaja, he was there guiding this mission for 13 years...


Sridhara Maharaja: I know your guru maharaja more than you do. I knew him from the beginning to the last days of his life. So much so, that once he proposed to me to be the president of Iskcon. I refused. In his last days, he wanted me to live along with him, in Iskcon, to have my constant association.


Yasomatinandana Dasa: If I say something representing their side [the GBC], you please do not mind it.


Sridhara Maharaja: Whatever you say that will be superficial to me; that won't reach to the depth of my knowledge and experience of Krsna consciousness. Whatever you will see, what all of you will see, that won't reach the depth of my knowledge about Iskcon, that is, Krsna consciousness: what is, who is Krsna? You are all primary students. I think you so.

Gaura-Vijaya Das - August 4, 2008 2:08 am

Thank you GM so much for this excerpt. I cannot bear that people don't have appreciation for Sridhar Maharaja.

Is this devotee in the transcript a ritik now?

Swami - August 4, 2008 2:17 am
Thank you GM so much for this excerpt. I cannot bear that people don't have appreciation for Sridhar Maharaja.

Is this devotee in the transcript a ritik now?


The last I heard he was a quasi ritvik but within Iskcon. He is a Gujarati.

Babhru Das - August 4, 2008 2:52 am

I think Yasomatinandana is a soft ritvik, very involved in ISKCON. He was also a member of the GHQ crew some years ago.

Vamsidhari Dasa - August 4, 2008 6:48 am
He was also a member of the GHQ crew some years ago.

is that like KGB but for ISkcon?

Madan Gopal Das - August 4, 2008 12:43 pm
I think Yasomatinandana is a soft ritvik.

If you read further in the same conversation Yasomatinandana presents exactly what I have heard up to present day as arguments for their faulty understanding of guru tattva; guru being subordinate to gbc and Prabhupada being the primary guru for all generations to come.

Sridhara Maharaja: We are out for the same thing.

Yasomatinandana Dasa: Please bless me so that I can preach in Gujarat.

Sridhara Maharaja: Our inner quest is for the same thing. And we should think that we come together from different sources for particular aims and there may not be any pollution in that aim that goal, our object. That is all-important, that is all-important. Organization next. First the ideal, and next the organization to facilitate the ideal, the preach the ideal. If the ideal is gone away, the organization can give mischief to the people. Just as Jiva Goswami has mentioned; from the mantram, the formula, take the name. Then put another name, it will go the opposite side. Take "Krsna" put "Kali" it will take to the, all other words are there, but the name is Krsna. Take out the Krsna and put Siva it will carry you to another direction. So, it is the ideal. Organisation there may be many, and no perfect organization is like the military. But the ideal is all-important. Otherwise if for another idea a good organization is engaged, that will very hurriedly take toward doom. So, organization is next, and first; the ideal. Krsna consciousness.

Yasomatinandana Dasa: But if....

Sridhara Maharaja: The organization must be subservient to Krsna consciousness proper. That is my contention. Nothing more.

Yasomatinandana Dasa: But our idea is that the ideal is nondifferent from the organization.

Sridhara Maharaja:You serve the organization because it is created by Swami Maharaja, it is a perfect one. Perfect one. So this organization, whatever they will create, the majority, that is God. I differ there.


Here is where you get your "soft" ritvik from:

Yasomatinandana Dasa: They say that because in Bhagavad-Gita Krsna says that there never will be a servant more dear than the one who preaches, and because Prabhupad exhibited such preaching vigour as there never has been exhibited before, that he is the most compassionate personality. Therefore they say that the idea of the organization is to give everyone Prabhupad. Their conviction is that if we simply give Srila Prabhupad to everyone, they will get all the mercy of Krsna and eventually all the realization of consciousness. Because Prabhupad exhibited the most compassionate nature, and the most successful preaching effort in the world, that we simply have to now rally around and present Prabhupad, and Krsna consciousness will be spread.


I love how Sridhara Maharaj is challenging these devotees from the beginning of the conversation - "What did you come to Krsna Consciousness for??!!!" It's not just about learning the basics and then stopping pursuit of the "highest ideal" and just preaching, preaching, preaching. Wow, Yasomatinandana must have been squirming! :Tounge:

Swami - August 4, 2008 1:45 pm
It's not just about learning the basics and then stopping pursuit of the "highest ideal"



Nor is it just about merely learning about the highest ideal, but rather pursing it wholeheartedly and that in terms of that which is relevant to each person in each stage of life..

Madan Gopal Das - August 4, 2008 2:47 pm
Nor is it just about merely learning about the highest ideal, but rather pursing it wholeheartedly and that in terms of that which is relevant to each person in each stage of life..

Great point, as you have often pointed out the tendency to learn all the details and think that one has the lila in one's grasp. Can you explain in more detail what you mean by "pursuing it wholeheartedly and that in terms of that which is relevant to each person in each stage of life.."? Are you referring to preaching being relevant during different stages of life, or aspects of spiritual practice? I don't want to ask a question that will be too time consuming or divergent, just wanted to catch the spirit of what you are suggesting.