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(C) 1995 by Richard S. Brown
All rights reserved.

Prabhupada Innocent - Iskcon Guilty

By Richard Shaw Brown

(Open letter to Satsvarupa Goswami) — Pujya Satsvarupa Maharaj,

Dandavats. Vande gurun isha bhaktan! I am your old Mayapura roommate and we shared late night guard duty, so please have tolerance to hear me out.

When you sent me a Srila Prabhupada tape containing very offensive sounding and completely untrue statements against Srila Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj and Akinchan Krsnadas Babaji Maharaj, and other Gaudiya Math devotees (calling them "a-sat" and "non-devotees"), I was amazed, so I looked up Prabhupada's Godbrothers names in Iskcon's VedaBase and was shocked, offended and outraged.

And time has proved that it is a great offense and the manifest result IS Iskcon's traditional and ingrained offensive disrespect and distrust toward all branches of Sri Gaudiya Math and all other Gaudiya Vaisnavas worldwide.

Then I re-read your Prabhupada Lilamrita and realized that you are one of the main bigot' perpetrators and chief architects of Iskcon's satam-ninda offensive attitude. You told me yourself that you resented Prabhupada's (senior) Godbrothers because they didn't give HDG the recognition YOU felt he deserved.

Your Prabhupada Lilamrita is tainted by your prejudice, and it contains blatant attempts to re-write a slanted history against Prabhupada's Godbrothers, and then greatly exaggerate only in favor of A.C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada alone, at the expense of all the bona fide life-long disciples of SRILA SARASVATI PRABHUPADA. Do you want the World to think that Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj was the ONLY good disciple of Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura? That Srila Vana Maharaj, Tirtha Maharaj, and other's were bad-devotees who never served our Param-Gurudev? Do you want to falsify history?
What do you even directly know about Sri Gaudiya Math devotees and Prabhupada's senior god brothers? What is your submissive experience outside "separatist" Iskcon? Who are you to distort history in a manner that is both materially prejudiced, biased and untrue? You helped establish the all-pervading Iskcon offensive attitude against Prabhupada's Godbrothers; and this satam-ninda is also being handed down to future generations.

For instance, recently I met a young new-generation Iskcon brahmacari who knew almost nothing about Gaudiya-siddhanta, but he told me boldly that the Gaudiya Math are a bunch of "envious black snakes!' Where did he get such a bad and offensive attitude? Jati-buddhi (A hellish mentality) ...

EXAMPLE I: Your SPLA only describes Srila Vana (Bon) Maharaj as having hair (instead of shaved up), wearing under shorts (instead of a kaupina) and using leather shoes at his Vrindavan Institute (rather than rubber or wooden shoes). This is your entire description of Tridandi Swami B.H. Vana Maharaj.

No mention that he was the 3rd direct sannyasi disciple of Prabhupada Srila Sarasvati Thakura in 1924, and one of his biggest preachers ever. No mention about his great tapasya, his chanting millions of rounds, his service to the Vraja-vasis, his never breaking his vows, his being a life-long celibate, nor (most importantly) his personally coming to visit our Prabhupada in his last days to accept apology from Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and grant him forgiveness on behalf of all his Godbrothers.

Instead you only describe Srila Vana Maharaj, 1) he was wearing slightly visible under shorts (a unique observation), 2) he had gray hair, and 3) he wore leather shoes. THAT is basically all you had to say when describing our Prabhupada's meeting with (his old friend) VERY senior Godbrother Srila Vana Maharaj in 1967. PLUS you insinuate that Srila Vana Maharaj was lusting after Iskcon's men for his own purposes.

EXAMPLE II: Srila Prabhupada on record saying that Srila BV Tirtha Maharaj (who I KNOW was the dearest disciple of SRILA SARASVATI PRABHUPADA) is "an envious black snake!"

Further examples

---In your book Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita you basically give a slanted portrayal of the other disciples of Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada as ungrateful, lazy, living only for food, who never served their spiritual master, and who wouldn't surrender themselves to their most junior Godbrother, Srila Swami Maharaj, according to your idea of HDG as the Supreme Messiah.

---Your slanted depiction of Srila B.H. Vana (Bon) Maharaj and Srila B.V. Tirtha Maharaj (all life-long and eternal servants of SRILA SARASVATI PRABHUPADA) as envious devotees is false, offensive and mis-leading SATAM NINDA!

---Your insinuation that the Godbrothers of Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj were rascals for not helping his (super late) preaching completely over-looks the actual FACT that during the whole time of Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada, Sri A.C. De was [BY ISKCON DEFINITION] a separatist "fringie" who hardly ever associated nor helped them in their extensive preaching. Why should they surrender to him now, after they are old and have retired for bhajan?

---Your glorification of Srila Prabhupada's refusing the invitation and snubbing his senior Godbrothers when he returned to Calcutta airport, is one of the WORST examples of Vaisnavata (Vaisnava-etiquette); and I can't believe you would include this seemingly mundane offensive behavior in your book. It makes HDG look bad and is a wrong example of Vaishnava etiquette.

---Your attempt to make out that the break up of the Gaudiya Math was most reprehensible completely over looks the fact that in Iskcon much worse things have and still do take place constantly. Thousands of jivatma's have been driven to the point of total despair because of the gross fall-downs of so many neophyte Iskcon so-called "absolute" gurus, who were worshipped as this Pada or that Pada, even though they all had neophyte knowledge and no realization of their actual spiritual identity.

---Your glorification of Srila Prabhupada on the roof in Mayapura looking over at the Gaudiya Matha and saying, "They have no men!" is complete nonsense. The fact is that one sincere, faithful and correctly trained Gaudiya Matha brahmacari is better than 10 Iskcon neophyte sannyasis. If manpower is the criterion of greatness then the U.S. Army (what to speak of Islam and Christianity) is far greater than Iskcon! This appears to be completely mundane. So why did you mention the incident?

---In SRILA PRABHUPADA LILAMRITA you praise Iskcon's kanistha heretic leaders whom time has proved to be conditioned (even perverted, evil and criminal) souls, and NOT "absolute" liberated Acaryas as claimed; while at the same time you slant history against the exalted eternal, life-long disciples of Param-gurudev (Srila Sarasvati Thakura) who are always fixed up and expert devotees.

In my opinion you and most of Iskcon's members are guilty of continuing a great offense against the real exalted and intimate devotees of Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu! And it is this mass APARADHA that is responsible for all the continuing mundane problems that plague Iskcon and will rob the Iskcon devotees (including the Iskcon gurus) of a chance to make actual spiritual advancement beyond karma-misra-bhakti.

I do not in any way wish to downplay the exceptional greatness of Srila Prabhupada's unique preaching activities in the West. But I must strongly protest and condemn the terrible attitude, which you and other Iskcon devotees have against Sri Gaudiya Math and the other direct disciples of Srila Sarasvati Thakura

The obvious and clear result of this offensive propaganda is that practically all Iskcon members, both past and present are openly taught to despise and speak ill of the members of Sri Gaudiya Math. They actually refuse entry to the Gaudiya Math members and refuse to even listen to their Hari-katha. Thus they become bereft of any more expert help or sat-sanga, with Iskcon's leaders resorting only amongst their own imperfect selves.

Prabhupada Innocent - Iskcon Guilty!

It is recorded fact that in 1977 near his end our Srila Prabhupada personally asked Srila Vana Maharaj (who came with his best friend Akinchan Krishnadas Babaji) to forgive him for his offenses (i.e., UNTRUE STATEMENTS), and Srila Vana Maharaj (on behalf of his Godbrothers) told HDG there was no [longer any] offense. So BOTH Prabhupada AND Srila Vana Maharaj are off the hook, and both are faultless and perfect devotees.

I am convinced that Iskcon devotees were told by HDG that we cannot say (or think) something seemingly offensive about HDG's Godbrothers. We are not qualified to judge the disciples of Srila Sarasvati Thakura, nor do we know what great service they rendered.

If anyone says that Prabhupada factually meant any seemingly offensive words--- (some examples from VedaBase: "Bon Maharaj is not a human being" or "he never speaks of Krsna!" or "he is black like gorilla," or "he is a mayavadi", ---then they are mistakenly calling HDG a Vaisnava-aparadhi and a liar, which is not the case! And if we think or say such things to be true then we are great offenders at the feet of one-in-a-million Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava disciples of Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada.

I have tried to defend Srila Prabhupada's honor for years by repeating the factual points of forgiveness, still, the volume of proof is so overwhelming that my Harinama god brothers have tried to "prove" to me that Prabhupada was the root offender, the Acarya who taught offensively by example. The cause of all Iskcon' rotten prejudice. But NO!

HDG's God brothers, through Srila Vana Maharaj, forgave SRILA PRABHUPADA; and thus the current fault is only with the Iskcon devotees, who still mis-represent SRILA PRABHUPADA, thanks, in part, to your bigoted book.

Your old room mate,
Hrsikesananda das