There are two forces in the world. One is love and one is fear. If you cannot succeed with love, you use fear. You try and make people afraid. Somehow or other, we have been subjected to this for so long. All of us came from ISKCON. But raghanuga bhakti is also like that. In the sastra, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati says, “No, don’t read Govinda Lilamrita. Don’t go so high. Don’t do this…” But until you get the courage and the mercy, that prohibition is good because it checks you. But when you have the courage of your conviction then it doesn’t matter what the world says. You know Krishna and you will just go for that. No people can legislate in opposition.
You understand? I’m trying to tell the overview. This is all childish intimidation tactics used to maintain the status quo in ISKCON.
When I came to my Gurudev, I had been in ISKCON for 17 years. I was temple president in Australia for 10 years. I went through all of this. Same thing. The principle I considered was, “What is best for my soul?” When I met Srila Narayan Maharaj I knew and I could see his elevated state. Since I have been with him, I’ve learned who is Srila Prabhupada. I thought I loved Prabhupada before I met him, but I did not know what was a pure devotee until I met Srila Narayan Maharaj. When I met Srila Narayan Maharaj, then I knew what is a pure devotee. Then I could understand who was Srila Prabhupada. I could not understand who was Srila Prabhupada before. Just some sentimental love and attachment and such affection.
I joined in 1979. I thought Prabhupada was going to initiate me. Then after some time they told me that, “No, he left the planet.” My Gurudev always calls me a Prabhupada desciple. I’m not directly, but I feel very much close to him. But he has taught me who is Prabhupada. He has taught me with the light of his realization what Prabhupada is saying. Let me give you one example. Very clear. In Chaitanya Charitamrita, there is this beautiful verse:
anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ
May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.
-Adi Lila Chapter 1 verse 4.
This word śriyam, Prabhupada translates it as treasure. What is the treasure? When I think of treasure, I think of treasure chest, you know? Like a box, you know? But what is inside? He did not say. He left for his successors to say. And inside is Manjari Bhav. This is what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is giving. He is giving sva bhakti shriam. Sva means own. Bhakti. Krishna’s own bhakti is Radha. Sriyam, the beauty of Radha’s bhakti is her service. Radha dasyam. This is the Gaudia siddhanta.
Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada could not tell all these truths directly to his disciples. They were just wiping the meat off their faces. Prabhupada was preaching for 10-11 years only. What qualification did they have to hear any of this?
If you don’t want go further, no problem. You stay in vaidhi-marga. The reason for Mahaprabhu’s advent is prema rasa. And to give raga-marga, this is the reason he has come. I am not qualified for raga-marga, but my Guru is showing me what is raga-marga. I’m performing vaidhi marga, completely. But I know what is the goal. My guru has shown me what is the goal.
In ISKCON ragunaga is quite intimidating because there is no false ego there. When you really come to Vrindavan in the heart, there is no false ego. There is no consideration whether you have 100 disciples or 1. What does Krishna care for this kind of consideration!? Whether you have a big temple,or a small temple, this is all external. It’s important, but it’s external. But unless we’re connecting with the internal, the external has no value really. And this is the tragedy with ISKCON.
I know Sivarama Swami quite well. I know what he is doing now. I know his desperation right now for a taste of juice. I meet many ISKCON people. They are like desert. Dying for juice. We need to know who is Radha and Krishna! What is this about dressing like this? Is it some club? You know? We are about loving God. Loving Krishna. What is my relationship then? How can I know that relationship?
My Gurudev has been a sannyasi for more years than we are old. He was so strict under the guidance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Srila Bhakti Kesava Maharaj. You think he doesn’t know what’s happening? The ISKCON wallas are trying to maintain the numbers, the external situation; and this is very good. This is Prabhupada’s instructions. But there is more. For the sincere devotee, he will look for more. And if he is happy with being a big man, no problem! Krishna has a place for that also. We’re not looking to be big men here. We’re looking to be big hearted. Ultimately, it’s finding Radha and Krishna. You know it’s very deep.
If someone is a Sivaram Swami disciple and they can see that Srila Narayan Maharaj can literally put his hand in their heart and make tears come out of their eyes, what are they going to think? And unless Shivaram Swami wants to say, “Yes, you should go…” [Pause] Sivaram Swami himself took shelter for many years. I used to sit in the Food for Life van from Vrindavan with Tamal Krishna Goswami, Giriraj Swami, Maharaj Bhurijon, Dhanudara Swami… Who else? Jayadvaita Swami a litte bit. Syamarani, Jhanarani at that time. They were all going across to see Srila Narayan Maharaj everyday.
My wife at the time, I was married at the time in grihastha ashram, she was one of Srila Narayan Maharaj’s first disciples in 1991. She would be sitting and talking to Srila Narayan Maharaj in his room, and a message would come, “Oh, the ISKCON gurus are waiting outside.” My Gurudev said, “Let them wait.” He knew how proud they were. He was trying to help them purify. Then they would come in very angry after half an hour of waiting, and they would look at these women and think, “What do you think you are more important than us!?” And my Gurudev would see and hear what was happening and he would say, “Oh you can stay, you can come in, tell the men to come in.” Because the men are thinking, “Oh we’re very important! These women should not even be here!”
They are trying to make some confidential, fearful situation, restricted, not for the world. Was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu like this?