Sridhara Maharaja: Some years after our Guru Maharaja had left, Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu (the acarya of the Gaudiya Mission) called for me and said, “Prabhupada has done many things which cannot be supported according to the scriptures. Where is your name ‘Sridhara’ found in the scripture? Only ten names of sannyasis we find – Puri, Giri, Bharati etc. – all these are mentioned in the scriptures.”
I told him, “You published a book, Gaudiya Kanthahara before I joined the matha, and there, one hundred and eight names of sannyasis are mentioned. You have given reference to Ananta-samhita.”
“Oh, that is all false, concoction. We suggested these names and Sachin Pandita composed the sloka and has given this some Sanskrit characteristic. We suggested the name of Ananta-samhita. It is a fictitious book. There is no Ananta-samhita.”
“That does not matter.”
“It is all false, so we can’t follow strictly the principles of Prabhupada.”
Then I gave him this answer, “In the Vedas and Upanisads it is seen that the first consideration is the rsi. What the rsis of the ancient times saw and felt in their hearts, they recorded, and that is Vedas and Upanisads. If we consider that the primary conception of full-fledged theism is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam and that It is the natural fruit of the Vedas, Puranas etc, then those persons who preach that full-fledged theism, who have found the expression within their heart – anything they add to that is greater sastra than the Vedas and Upanisads. That is more valuable to me than any of the so-called rsis, who felt this Brahman – a hazy conception of the theism. We find in the Bhagavatam that the Srutis are repenting and praying for forgiveness to Krsna, “We could not express You fully. What we have expressed is going to that hazy conception of Brahman – not Your conception. We could not express Param-Brahma, Svayam-Bhagavan, so we beg Your forgiveness for this.”
The present acaryas do not have a lesser position than the former rsis – they have a greater position. They have to give to the public a higher conception of theism. We may think of them to be modern, but at the same time if we consider what Mahaprabhu gave and what the Bhagavatam has given as a more developed condition of theism than what the Upanisads and Vedas have given in previous days – if we realize this, than we must give the position of importance to the acarya of full-fledged theism. Otherwise we are all hypocrites.
If we can think that the teachings of Sri Caitanyadeva and the full-fledged theism as told by Prabhupada is the highest, and the Bhagavata is the highest development of theism, then what Prabhupada said has got reality – that is true. That cannot but be true. Whatever is felt, any more, any single division – that is generally bona-fide. That is the only truth. I cannot think that the revealed truth means that thousands and thousands of years back it was only revealed to some rsi or so and that it cannot be revealed at present. At any time the revelation may come to support this highest form of theism – whatever the revelation!
Devotee: Vasudeva Prabhu wanted to show Ananta-samhita was not bona-fide?
Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, that it is an imagined book. He told me that, but I do not know for certain. Still I stood my ground on that fact. There is also the Caitanya Upanisad – that may not be found anywhere. Brahma-samhita is also not to be found. Some claim that it was written by Sri Caitanyadeva. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written that we do not find any book by Caitanyadeva, but if Brahma-samhita comes from Him, then we are very much proud and satisfied that He has left at least one book. But Jiva Gosvami has written that there really was a Brahma-samhita with one hundred chapters and this is one chapter out of that.
I also told this about Jaiva-dharma – Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote Jaiva-dharma in the style of a novel, as if that is an imaginary conversation amongst imaginary persons – one is asking, another is answering. But I think that this is not fictitious. In some kalpa or other such things really happened. It may not be this kalpa, but there are so many kalpas. There are so many days of Brahma, and things are repeated with a little modification. When there is any difference or anomaly in the scriptural descriptions, Jiva Gosvami has explained this to be kalpabheda. When it has come in the consciousness of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, it is not transitory. It is floating – sometimes appearing and sometimes disappearing. It is all eternal truth.
Sanatana Gosvami says that when writing this Brhad-bhagavatamrtam, “Someone is forcing me to write this. It is not I that is writing. I do not have such audacity that I can enter into the harem of Krsna and say that Rukmini is such and such, Satyabhama is such and such – what audacity I have to deal with them. Somebody is forcing me to write!” Kaviraja Gosvami also says, ei grantha lekhaya more madana-mohana (‘It is Madana-mohana that makes me write this book’). It is all true – cent-percent true.
Suppose something has come from Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Prabhupada or some respected Vaisnava acarya – they have got inspiration of giving that sort of thing to the world for the propaganda – it has got its value. It is not unreal, but it has greater value because the ordinary rsis are the appreciators of only two conceptions of theism – the conception of Brahman and Paramatma. Bhagavan Krsna is the highest form of development of theism and who can perceive Him, recognize Him, who can understand that this is the highest conception of theism is to be respected. Any mantram or anything like that which is coming through their inspiration is more valuable. That has got more authenticity. Otherwise, what are they? They are worshippers, they are preachers, they are appreciators, they are devoted to the highest cause – but they have got no foundation? Is it that they have no particular position in that plane, that they cannot feel things of the highest order within their hearts and give it out to the public?
One who is in the service of full-fledged theism, whatever inspiration comes in him, for the service of preaching that truth – that is more valuable than that ordinary Upanisad, Veda, and other revealed scripture. I still hold that – it cannot but be so. If you are to accept Svayam-Bhagavan, Akhila-rasamrta-murti and the full-fledged theism of Bhagavatam, then those that are earnestly, wholeheartedly trying to serve and preaching that truth, whatever inspiration comes from within, that cannot but be the truth. What we find created and given to us by the present authentic acarya has got infinitely more value than those which were previously seen by the rsis. Otherwise we cannot say that this is full-fledged theism. Those that can appreciate this highest form of theism, their position is nothing? Their position is not serious? If we shrink to give that sort of respectable position to the present acarya, if we cannot give such a position to the espouser of this highest form of theism, then that conviction is to be doubted.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja ki Jaya! (For more information on Bhaktabandhav publications contact: firstname.lastname@example.org )