November 6, 2013
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Let us remember you in the same way that Queen Vaidarbhi remembered her king, Maharaja Malayadhvaja, on his disappearance. In your masterpiece, your commentary on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you write about this incident as follows (SB 4.28.48):
uttiṣṭha — please get up; uttiṣṭha — please get up; rāja-ṛse — O saintly king; imām — this earth; udadhi — by the ocean; mekhalām — surrounded; dasyubhyaḥ — from the rogues; ksatra-bandhubhyaḥ — from the unclean kings; bibhyatīm — very much afraid; pātum — to protect; arhasi — you ought.
O best of kings, please get up! Get up! Just see this world surrounded by water and infested with rogues and so-called kings. This world is very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect her.
Whenever an ācārya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in Bhagavad-gītā. Religion means abiding by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Religious principles begin from the time one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the ācārya‘s duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting and remembering. Unfortunately, when the ācārya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so-called svāmīs, yogīs, philanthropists, welfare workers and so on. Actually, human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):
“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”
The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The ācārya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the ācārya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master. At the present moment practically the entire world is afraid of rogues and nondevotees; therefore this Krsna consciousness movement is started to save the world from irreligious principles. Everyone should cooperate with this movement in order to bring about actual peace and happiness in the world.
Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, it is not possible for rogues and non-devotees to proliferate in the presence of the acharya. But when the achyara departs, as you have described, the rogues and non-devotees will certainly take advantage of his absence.
Such people prey upon the innocent. They mislead them, use them for their own ends, exploit them for selfish purposes—even while believing wholeheartedly that their own speculations and selfish objectives are something spiritual. Euphemistically, it can be said that such misguided people are guilty of mission drift, wherein they not only drift from the mood and mission of their acharya but also cause others to drift away with them. But these drifters tend to be in one of two historic categories: they are either sahajiyas, or they are mayavadis.
The sahajiyas take devotional service cheaply. They enthusiastically indulge in sense gratification, especially illicit sex, while purporting to be devotees of the highest grade. The sahajiyas’ recognizable calling card is some direct or indirect assault on the principles of dharma. Directly, they sometimes say things like, “Why four regulative principles when it is easier to follow three?” Indirectly, they sometimes say, “Why not same-sex marriage?” or “Why not female sannyasa?”. The principles of dharma protecting devotees from the vice of illicit sex are targets of top priority for the sahajiyas. The sahajiyas despise these principles, and they despise those who follow and preach them.
The mayavadis’ recognizable calling card is they explain the words of Krishna or His acharya without touching on the spirit of their words. In the Preface to the Bhagavad-gita, you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, explain the essence of Mayavada-bhashya:
Generally the so-called scholars, politicians, philosophers, and svāmīs, without perfect knowledge of Krsna, try to banish or kill Kṛṣṇa when writing commentary on Bhagavad-gītā. Such unauthorized commentary upon Bhagavad-gītā is known as Māyāvāda-bhāṣya, and Lord Caitanya has warned us about these unauthorized men. Lord Caitanya clearly says that anyone who tries to understand Bhagavad-gītā from the Māyāvādī point of view will commit a great blunder. The result of such a blunder will be that the misguided student of Bhagavad-gītā will certainly be bewildered on the path of spiritual guidance and will not be able to go back to home, back to Godhead.
. . .
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is essential in human society, for it offers the highest perfection of life. How this is so is explained fully in the Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, mundane wranglers have taken advantage of Bhagavad-gītā to push forward their demonic propensities and mislead people regarding right understanding of the simple principles of life.
Just because we are devotees who are affiliated with your great institution, ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda, does not mean we are incapable of becoming sahajiyas or mayavadis. Some years ago, one of our leading ISKCON men had to publicly remind us of this. In response to some call to add explanatory notes to your books in order to better explain some of your more so-called “controversial passages”, he cautioned that such notes will “soften the impact of Srila Prabhupada’s words, to explain that he ‘didn’t really mean’ what he appears to have said—that is, not just to explain but to ‘explain away.’”
Indeed, as conditioned souls, our tendency is still to be envious of Krishna or of those devoted to Him, such as your own self. One way we express our envy, as already mentioned, is through Sahajiyaism, and the other, as shown here, is through Mayavada—to explain away Krishna or His acharya.
This brings us to your mission, Srila Prabhupada. Because our tendency is to drift, we need to remind ourselves of it. Your mission is nicely summarized in your pranama mantras:
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritukindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
It is especially to be noted that your mission in the West is to deliver us from impersonalism and voidism—two tendencies in Western culture that drive our sahajiya and mayavada tendencies.
In order to keep ourselves fixed in our determination to serve you, as well as to increase our awareness of our tendency to drift into Sahajiyaism or Mayavada, we have gathered here today, Śrīla Prabhupāda, to remember your mission. A festival of fruits, flowers and palatable foodstuffs held in your name is of no use if we are misguided. Just as it is misguided to pour ghee into ashes, our devotional service is useless if we do not follow your direction.
Therefore I pray that I may somehow always remember and never forget your purpose, your mood, and your mission, and that I may somehow assist your servants who, without duplicity, have taken to heart your message and have nicely taken up your mission to spread Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana movement throughout the world.
Your servant, Krishna-kirti das