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

Reinitiating ACBSP disciples?

by Richard Shaw Brown

A female devotee, she is a bona fide disciple of Srila Prabhupada, and after his disappearance she started taking shiksha from Srila Prabhupada's friend, Sri BV Narayana Maharaj. What I don't understand is why she had to get RE-initiated!?? She was already initiated, and just came for shiksha, so WHY get reinitiated? That seems an insult to Srila Prabhupada. If her original Guru was bogus then I can understand RE initiation, but as Srila Prabhupada is bona fide, so why not keep original initiation and just accept shiksha from others as possible?

Why would some one so friendly and respectful of Srila Prabhupada like Narayan Mj, why would he reinitiate a disciple of Srila Prabhupada? This seems like “Guru-droha” or treachery to Guru-tattva. I'm not sure about the above mentioned case, but in many cases Srila Prabhupada's disciples got reinitiated by his god brothers. And there is never a case where reinitiating an ACBSP disciple is required.

There is the “diksha guru” who is one, and shiksha gurus who are many. Why does Srila Narayan Maharaj, or any of Prabhupada's Godbrothers and their followers, think they need to reinitiate a correctly initiated disciple of a genuine acharya as is Srila Prabhupada?

If one is already initiated by departed Acharya then why not just take Shiksha? I know Sri Narayan Mj personally since 1968 and saw he was very friendly with Srila Prabhupada, and had so much back ground with Srila Prabhupada (such as helping Sannyasa, performing samadhi, testifying for Iskcon, etc.) WHY does he need to reinitiate any of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada?

It is normal for him to give diksha to his own disciples, but why minimise the bona fide diksha already given by Srila Prabhupada? Why not just give shiksha when requested by a bona fide devotee? Why insult their departed Guru by re-initiation? Srila Prabhupada directly told me our relationship was eternal, so why reinitiate?

I don't need VedaBase to understand Srila Prabhupada's mind because I spoke with him directly in his own language. Once, I said, "I really feel bad to hear my god brothers badmouth your god brothers!" And Srila Prabhupada got angry and asked, "Who is saying like that? No one can say like that!!!" I didn't give HDG any names. Another time Srila Prabhupada made an insulting joke against Swami Bon, and immediately afterward he said to me (when he saw me wince), "No, no, I'm joking! We are brothers! No one can insult my brothers! None of you can say like that! This is between brothers!" Then HDG laughed with a big smile.

Yet HDG had to protect us from getting reinitiated by his Godbrothers...

SO, how to unemotionally understand this ENIGMA? First we must know the origin...

Here I must apologize in advance. With all respect due to my dearest Spiritual Master, HDG Srila Prabhupada, I offer the following words simply to show the back ground thinking of Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers. From their point of view HDG wasn’t born in 1966, he was born in 1896, and he had a life before becoming acharya. And his background with BSSP and his god brothers was based on the past, not the future. Most of the leading disciples of BSSP had retired for Bhajan before HDG even got started. During the time of BSSP, Srila Prabhupada lived as an uninitiated fringy outside GM, he never lived in nor was trained in GM, compared to his god brothers who had already been initiated and been preaching for their whole lives, and who had spread BSSP words and built up 64 Maths; Srila Prabhupada was not considered a GM insider. HDG would be the first to agree. I spoke enough with Srila Prabhupada that I can fairly well judge his reaction to what I have just explained. To his Godbrothers HDG was not considered a special devotee or Guru tattva (based on his past non-involvment). They didn’t take him seriously. After all, HDG knows it better than us and that’s why he had to protect us.

People who never personally knew Srila Prabhupada and his god brothers, and who never heard the inside story, usually just quote Srila Prabhupada’s every breath when ever he spoke against anyone, without considering time, place, and recipient. I can see, even when HDG is “blowing off a little steam”, but his unknown disciples are carving his every word into stone, as if it applies to all for ever. This is a Muslim way of thinking, blind acceptance without reasoning nor logic.

Like (for example in Veda Base) HDG says, BV Tirtha Mj is a "black snake." BUT, I met him twice and he had two hands, two legs, he was NOT a snake, he was human. And he was also not envious, rather he highly disapproved of his junior-most god brother giving KC to bums, homos, hippies, and mixing men and women. The real problem was that HDG started too late for his god brothers to take him seriously, until it was too late.

I lived in GM for almost 7 years, as an insider, accepted by them, and I heard the GM history in great detail, from insiders like Swami Bon, from Swami Ashram Mj, and from Madhava Maharaj, (Krishnadas Babaji never once mentioned it). The most detail was from Swami Bon, who had "voted for Kunja Daa" as next acharya. But when the murders and savagery took place Swami Bon left the GM and moved to Varanasi and then Vrindavan.

The point is that there is MUCH more to the GM story. It is not black and white! Srila Prabhupada hardly told anything compared to the volume of facts. And that's because he was all along an outsider through out GM history. Srila Prabhupada was initiated just a short time before BSSP disappearance. After which HDG carried on as a business man. And when HDG and his godbrothers got old, all of a sudden the ‘least likely to succeed’ is divinely inspired to preach in the West. His god brothers were ALL senior to HDG, they had been preaching all their lives, and they didn't realize what was happening, and they didn't take HDG seriously.

HDG was well aware of their slight regard for him and their ignorance of his mission. And by the time they started to realise HDG's greatness they were all dying, HDG included. I'm just trying to show the other perspective. Just so Srila Prabhupad's ‘off the cuff’ words that seemed offensive, were just meant to protect us, but not to make us offensive or be taken literally. Just as BV Tirtha Mj was NOT factually a "black snake", so are Srila Prabhupada's god brothers all devotees in spite of any words to the contrary.

It is mad to think that Srila Prabhupada would want other Vaishnavas, his friends, from his own family, banned from his temples. It seems that a non-devotee, even a Muslim, can visit any centre, welcome!!! HDG did NOT Ban his Godbrothers. Maybe in a single necessary instance 35 years in the past HDG might have said something, but that is now long gone. So, what is the real problem???... having his disciples REINIITIATED certainly displeases Srila Prabhupada, and is the CORE problem. I had been tricked into getting reinitiated when I was a kid back in 1968, and I found out later that upset and made Srila Prabhupada SO angry at Swami Bon!!! I heard from others who said they had never seen Srila Prabhupada so angry as he was about Bon Mj reinitiating me. And prior to that they were life-long friends.

Here is exactly what Srila Prabhupada wrote me (I didn’t find this letter until 6 years too late):

My Dear Hrsikesa, Please accept my
blessings. I am in due receipt of your
letter of March 14, 1968, and I am
greatly surprised. I am greatly surprised
for Bon Maharaja's initiating you in
spite of his knowing that you are already
initiated by me. So it is deliberate
transgression of Vaisnava etiquettes and
otherwise a deliberate insult to me. I do
not know why he has done like this but no
Vaisnava will approve of this offensive
action. I very much appreciate your
acknowledgement of my service unto you
and you will always have my blessings,
but you must know that you have committed
a great blunder. Hope you are well."

---Your ever well-wisher A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

I didn't see that anger, because when I returned to Srila Prabhupada he was very happy and friendly. We may have spent only 3 weeks together, but it was full time, and we spoke about most everything. We spoke like I never saw him speak with another Westerner. Maybe because the Bengali language, maybe because he knew the training I had, but REALLY because I had left the mistake of being reinitiated and returned to his feet. So I can see from this directly, that reinitiating his disciples is the biggest offence against Srila Prabhupada which displeases HDG the MOST!

For a Srila Prabhupada disciple to get reinitiated is totally unnecessary, if not Guru Droha. And for the lady mentioned in the beginning and for Narayana Mj., and any other off-shoots, it should be known that reinitiating us is a great offence. And there can never be unity nor peace under such an elephant aparadha as reinitiating Srila Prabhupada's direct disciples.