In 1956 Srila Gurudeva returned to Mathura after Navadvīpa Parikramā and continued translating books alongside the publication of the monthly editions of the Śri Bhāgavata Patrikā. Acharya Kesarī stayed in Mathurā during this particular summer. On July 27 a mandate requiring anyone considered a sādhu to register before a government officer was brought to the Indian Lower House of Parliament—the Lok Sabhā. When Acharya Kesarī’s attention was drawn to the proposed legislation, he objected with a lion-like voice, “How can someone who is not a sādhu recognize a sādhu, what to speak of dispersing assessment? Only a sādhu can control another sādhu. The Indian Penal Code has ample regulations to suppress sinful behavior and activities opposed to society. What is the need for this separate law targeting sādhus?”

Acharya Kesari started a forceful campaign against the proposed mandate. He dictated a letter of protest as Gurudeva swiftly transcribed. It was printed in Hindi, Bengali, and English, and sent to prominent politicians, leaders of religious societies, members of parliament, and the President of India. As a result the Lok Sabhā quilcky rejected the proposal.

Also in the summer of 1956, the followers of the Nimbārka-sampradāya in Vṛndāvana cast aspersions on Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in their journal, Sri Sudarśana, saying that He was a disciple of Keśava Kāśmīrī. In other editions, they insolently dared to claim that Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Acharya’s such as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhakura were in the Nimbārka-sampradāya. When Śrīla Gurudeva showed these editions to Acharya Kesarī, he became irate and had an essay published in the August issue of the Bhāgavata Patrikā entitled, “Sri Nimbāditya and Nimbārka are not the same person.”

In response to this essay, the directors of the Sudarśana journal announced that they were filing legal proceedings for libel. The Sudarśana editor wrote a long letter to Śrīla Gurudeva claiming that the
Bhāgavata Patrikā had presented false information about their sampradāya, saying, “Your article has caused immense damage to the reputation of our sampradāya and has seriously wounded the sentiments of its numerous followers. The value of such damage, although incalculable, has been estimated at 10,000 rupees.”

Śrīla Gurudeva showed the threat to Acharya Kesarī, and he replied firmly, “We will prove each and every word based on evidence from śāstra.” On August 27, 1956, Śrīla Gurudeva replied to Sree Brajbihari Saran at the Gautam Rii, Barahghat, Mathurā, writing:

Regret to inform you that a letter dated 23-8-56 (posted on 24-56) under a registered cover, addressed to Sree Tridaṇḍī Svāmī Śrīmat Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, designating him as Editor and Publisher of Bhāgavata Patrikā, is received under protest.

The addressee is not in any way guilty of or liable for any of the charges, criminal or civil, and does not admit any content of the letter as you have alleged. If you are wrongly, improperly, and illegally willing to enter into any litigation, you are at liberty to do so at your own risk. 

Yours Truly, Svāmī B.V. Nārāyaṇa

Indignant, Brajbihari Saran of the Sudarśana journal contacted lawyers to start a legal battle. The lawyers warned him, “You don’t know Keśava Mahārāja and Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. They never lose a case. Their knowledge of court proceedings and scripture is exceptional. Prosecuting them would be like a mouse going in a hole in search of an earthworm and finding a black snake that eats it instead.”

Cowed by what they heard, the Nimbārka leaders dropped the case and retracted their calumnies about the Gauḍiya-sampradāya.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from rasik@kripa.tv )