[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, U.K. 1996 (Radlett, 22 May), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
Srila Gurudeva: Why should he forbid? If I am against him, then it is against the rules of the bhakti line. I have not seen anywhere in the scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrita, or any books of Svamiji that any bona fide Guru will check his disciple to go to any bona fide Vaisnava. Why should he check his disciple from seeing me? Why is he fearful if he is a bona fide Guru? This has not been done anywhere. In our Gaudiya Mathas, everyone can go anywhere. I go to Puri Maharaja. I have never seen any Gurus forbid their disciples from hearing from Vaisnavas. You know that I am senior to them. If they are checking their disciples, then they should check; I have nothing to do. They should control, then I will tell nothing to their disciples whether they should come or not come. I have nothing to gain or lose. They should control all of ISKCON.
Damodara dasa: Do you feel Maharaja…
Srila Gurudeva: This is a policy. Policy means a political thing. I don’t want to go to any politics. I want to help all the little beings, the living entities like Svamiji has done. I am helping everyone causelessly. I don’t want to be political; I only want to support everyone. It is not written in any sastra; my Gurudeva or any Gurudeva has not said like so. We see that Jiva Gosvami guided Syamananda Prabhu, Narottama Thakura, and Srinivasa Acarya. Narottama Thakura was the disciple of Lokanatha Gosvami. Syamananda Prabhu was the disciple of Hrdayananda Thakura. Srinivasa Acarya was the disciple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Yet all were sent to Jiva Gosvami. The disciples honored both—their diksa-guru and siksa-guru in the same category. Jiva Gosvami knows. Anyone has not forbidden any disciple to go to any Vaisnava. I have not seen; so I cannot support this. They should do; I have nothing to criticize. But I know that this principle is surely against Krsna consciousness. I know that if they follow this, they will be ruined. Surely, they will be ruined and Prabhupada’s mission will be troubled.
You will see that if they don’t change, then all the senior disciples who have some intelligence will leave. I know that they will leave very soon. Everyone should be respected. Have I told anything against ISKCON, or any ISKCON leader, or your Gurudeva, or Svamiji? I have been here since eight days, and I have always glorified Svamiji and ISKCON. Why should they think otherwise? I am not telling that they should allow all their disciples to come and see me. I don’t want that. But actually, it will be like so. They have given up their countries, desires for name and fame, and they have given up their wealth, wives, and husbands, and they have gone to Svamiji with their whole intelligence, then why will they not think about this? They must think and they will go where their divine love for Krsna will advance. Also, their faith and honor for Svamiji will increase. They must go there and they will go. Anyone cannot check. Even Hiranyakasipu and Kamsa could not check; anyone cannot check. It is out of their control. You see that I am always increasing everyone’s faith and honor towards Svamiji. Thus, a person like you will come by yourself; they will not check you. And if there is only politics, then politics will not bring anything. So, love is perpetual. Politics is not perpetual; it is only for one or two days.
So we should try to honor. Kanistha-Vaisnava, madhyama-adhikari, and uttama-Vaisnava are the three categories of Vaisnavas. They are classified according to their level. We should only overlook those who are against Bhakta, Bhagavan, and Bhakti.
balisesu dvisatsu ca
yah karoti sa madhyamah
–Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.46
[An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikari, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.]
Gurudeva descends from the uttama-adhikari stage to the madhyama-adhikara stage to initiate. Otherwise he cannot initiate. Sukadeva Gosvami cannot initiate anyone. Caitanya Mahaprabhu will not initiate; Nityananda Prabhu cannot initiate anyone. So, if anyone gives initiation, he will descend. And then, four qualities will be there—prema, maitri, krpa, and upeksa. Do you know what they mean? Prema is shown to Krsna and not to others. Maitri (friendship) is shown to three classes of Vaisnavas. The uttama-adhikari who is more than us should be respected and honored; our feelings to him belong to that class of maitri-bhava. Maitri-bhava is also shown to equal Vaisnavas. Kanistha-Vaisnavas who have sraddha (faith) should also be honored. And they should be given association by which their love and affection to Krsna will go up. So a devotee may be initiated anywhere. One may not even be initiated. The uninitiated person may think, “Caitanya Mahaprabhu is my Guru.”
He calls out, “O Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu! O Radha-Krsna! Hare Krsna!”
If he is not initiated, then we should think that he is in the kanistha (neophyte) stage and we should honor him as a Vaisnava. And if you are not giving him honor, then you are at fault. I am the disciple of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He has also given the sannyasa order to Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. He cannot be a third class Vaisnava. Anyone cannot say like this. And he is the most obedient servant of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. He has served him more than Svamiji. Srila Prabhupada and he were living together. Then your Svamiji came here and preached. He served so much. So, all are grateful to him. Our Guru Maharaja is also grateful to him as well.
Our Guru Maharaja told him, “Though you have taken sannyasa from me; yet, you have served more. You have fulfilled the orders of Srila Prabhupada.”
So, I have come from our Gurudeva—Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, who was one of the very dearest disciples of Srila Prabhupada. And I am chanting and giving inspiration to everyone as well. Then why should I be excluded? Shouldn’t they think of me as a friend? They may honor me as a kanistha-Vaisnava. But why does this mood of not letting their disciples see me come? From where does this mood come? I think it is not coming from Svamiji. It is their own mood.
They are thinking that “Oh he is making us fearful.”
So you can tell them this. You should pray and tell them on my behalf that “Maharaja has nothing against you all. He doesn’t have any grudge towards all of you. He doesn’t bear any ill feelings towards you all.”
I also want to help them as I have helped so many. I don’t want to remember what they have done and how I have overlooked what they have done. But they should know that I have done some service to Svamiji and they should be grateful to me for this. And if they are not grateful, then I think they are not in the devotional line. So, you should also think like this. There is nothing to be said more.
Damodara dasa: Thank you for giving your time Maharaja.
Srila Gurudeva: My time is being wasted in these political matters.
Damodara dasa: I didn’t mean to trouble you with those points.
Srila Gurudeva: You have not troubled but if you are talking politically, then our time is wasted. I only said with the mood that I am not against ISKCON or Svamiji. I am not against anyone. I want to help and be helped by them.
[To read or download the full upcoming book as a pdf, visit www.patreon.com/bhaktabandhav]