His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my most humble obeisances at your lotus feet.
For my Vyasa puja this year I wanted to simply start by saying that I am very much in your eternal debt for giving Krishna to me. As you have said so nicely, living without Krishna is simply a life of ignorance, suffering and illusion, with very little chance of making further progress into one's next life. Worse, without Krishna our chances are very good to take birth as a dog in our next life.
That unfortunate future would probably have been my destiny without meeting your grace. And as such, meeting you is certainly Krishna's very kind mercy upon me. Just as Krishna says -- there is no way He can repay the love of the gopis, similarly there is no way I can repay you by your helping me find Krishna. We are truly born in the darkness of ignorance and the spiritual master forces us to see with the torch light of knowledge, and you did that for me. As you said, once someone starts this process, then Krishna forcibly drags that person to be with Him. And I feel this practically, that Krishna is indeed pulling me along, dragging me along, kicking me along, -- just as you said He would. What mercy this is!
Whatever happens in my life, whether it be good, bad or even most terrible, you are my eternal guide and savior always. I have been criticized -- even by many of my dear God brothers -- for "trying to make Srila Prabhupada into another Jesus," but to me at least, you are another Jesus since you gave me Krishna directly. Yes, you saved me and that is the plain fact of the matter.
Thus, wherever I may take my future birth as Krishna desires, it does not matter. Its in His hands. I feel secure knowing that I am part and parcel of Krishna and I have truly met Krishna's external representative, namely yourself. And that means -- at some point -- I at least have a chance to be placed back into Krishna's presence, even if that takes millions or billions of of years, you have put me back on the road to His lotus feet thanks to your causeless mercy.
In other words, you have somehow or other given me the gift of being connected to Krishna, it is the highest gift one can bestow on another living entity and I am simply crying tears of joy to have this wonderful gift. There is simply nothing in the material world to compare this gift to, it is truly priceless.
The greatest gift in the universe.
My only lament is that you wanted to give this gift to many others, and your mission has been somewhat oppressed and hampered since your departure, thus many others were deprived of getting this gift.
You also gave us many "warnings and predictions" of what would happen -- if your directives were not heeded. You predicted that unless we were very vigilant, most of your followers would retreat back to their former "hippie style" lives of illusion after you departed. That has proven to be true in many cases. You warned that unless the leaders were very vigilant, they would lose interest in spiritual life and become interested in "pounds, shillings and pence." That has all proven to be true.
You warned, "after I depart, the leaders will not print my books, thus we need to print ALL of my books now while I am still here." In short, you could not trust these leaders to even continue the most basic program of your book publication. That is exactly what happened, these leaders orchestrated a massive drop in your book printing and sales. In fact, most of your original edition books are no longer even being printed at the present time. Printing in many foreign languages has also simply ceased altogether. This is what you warned could happen if we lost sight of your orders, and it did happen.
Almost everyone now acknowledges that the printing and distribution of your books has gone down substantially, and in many cities it has gone down to nil. You also warned that the "rascal editors" could change your books, and they have done so. We had to fight very hard to establish even the most basic legal rights to print your original books. The good news is, your original books are now back in popular demand as more and more people agree with us that these book changes are not bona fide.
You said "at least maintain the temples we have got already," and that was simply not done. Many of these temples were mercilessly emptied of manpower and dwindled down to near bankrupt status, or factual bankrupt status. Some temples are still being closed or sold as we speak, because maintaining your temples has not been a priority item for most of these leaders, just as you predicted could happen. You said that the Gaudiya Matha temples became empty and occupied by a few motivated leaders -- after they drove out their God brothers -- and the same pattern has occurred in ISKCON despite your dire warnings of this possibility.
You said that the most important thing for our movement is to develop the "second generation" of children, and train them to become Krishna's devotees. You warned that if this training was not conducted properly -- these children could become alienated and maybe abandon the religion. That is what has happened factually for the most part, just as you warned it could. Worse, the current leaders are doing very little if nothing to form an out reach to bring back these alienated ex-children. Many of these leaders simply chose to create an opulent lifestyle for themselves at the expense of these children, acting very much like the demon kings you describe in your writings. They simply did not want to follow your directions.
You warned that we need to make self sufficient farming communities, because the mundane society's cities would start to suffer from unemployment, increased crime, social degradation, higher taxes, pollution of all types -- and many other forms of strife. However, most of the rural farm projects you wanted to be done -- so your devotees could live a simple and God conscious life -- were neglected, bankrupted -- if not sold or dwindled down to extinction.
And sure enough most of your poor devotees then ended up with no rural shelter, and thus many are struggling very hard for material existence, still living in these big cities being forced to live in the very stressful material society they once condemned, and work very hard to secure life's necessities.
A good number of the devotees in general have departed their bodies prematurely due to the stress of going back to live in the material ocean. I am sure that you have spoken to Krishna on their behalf to have them re-engaged in Krishna's service in their next life, since all of this is part of an eternal process. The poor devotees of the post-1936 Gaudiya Matha were also (for the most part) pushed back into the material ocean, and that our ISKCON leaders would ignore this odious history and copy this pattern is simply astonishing, since they already know how badly you condemned this process.
You warned we should not associate with the Gaudiya Matha's leaders, but that was the first place your leaders went to -- right after your departure. They went "across the river in Navadvip" to your God brothers missions. You warned that these Gaudiya Matha's folks and their idea that "acharyas are subject to illusion" caused the breakdown of their 1930s Gaudiya Vaishnava mission, and it would also break down your mission if implemented in your society. It has.
You warned that we should not implement the Gaudiya Matha's process of -- unqualified gurus, rubber stamped gurus, appointed gurus, voted in gurus, monitored gurus, suspended gurus, censured gurus, excommunicated gurus and so on, but the ISKCON leaders have adopted all of these deviations, and much more. You warned that such relativised acharya ideas would destroy the mass of people's faith in the whole process given by the bona fide acharyas, and destroy the preaching spirit. It has.
You also warned that we should not associate with the Vrndavana and Radha Kunda babajis, and yet many of your leaders went to them for "spiritual advice." I recently watched a video of many ISKCON people at one of these babajis residences, where it is obvious that a number of ISKCON leaders are encouraging people to visit there. You said this would destroy the preaching spirit, for starters because babaji life is not preaching life, and this would make a cheap sahajiya atmosphere where all kinds of fools would think they are rasika devotees, pure devotees and so on. Worse, the main theme of your preaching concept would be stopped. It has.
You warned in early 1977 that the sannyasa order is not working, we should suspend that order, and instead emphasize farms managed by grhastha householders. Yet as soon as you departed the leaders started rubber stamping scores of these false sannyasas and worse, claiming that these sannyasas are also acharyas. And then these leaders began to drive out most of the householders, and suppress, hamper if not shut down the farms meant to facilitate these householders. You warned previously that this was a "fratricidal war" which will destroy my mission -- when some of the sannyasas wanted to move the householders to Australia.
You warned that we should not become entangled in mundane academia, but as soon as you departed some of your leaders -- including some who also claimed to be acharyas -- began to attend mundane colleges to obtain "learning degrees" from the same mental speculators that you said are teaching "fool-oh-sophy." Some of these same "leaders" even began to attack many of your teachings as "not compatible with academia," and these leaders began to accept the ideas of mundane college professors, the same professors you said were "Dr. Frogs." "How can a frog know who is God and what this universe is?" you used to challenge, and yet now some of your so-called leaders have surrendered to these Dr. Frogs as their authorities.
You warned that if your GBC did not do their job properly, they could take birth as sudras. You warned that people who falsely pose as acharyas go to the lowest regions of the universe. You warned that neophytes cannot act as diksha gurus and absorb the sins of others, this will cause them to degrade. You warned that sannyasas should not associate with women in a secluded place. You warned that sannyasa should not live in opulence, and so on!
You also said we cannot adopt bogus ideas like homosexual marriages, but some of your leaders are participating in, conducting and supporting these deviations. You said we cannot sell cheap trinkets to the public or we would become like mundane businessmen, but after 1977 the "samkirtana" movement became largely a cheap business of -- selling oil paintings, football stickers, rock and roll records -- and much worse paraphernalia. You warned how this would degrade ISKCON, and it has. You also warned us not to make ISKCON into a Hindu-ized business, with Hindu weddings, car poojas, demigod's worship and so forth, and that too was among of the first things the leaders started implementing.
Of course, the list of warnings you gave is much more extensive, and the list of how the leaders of ISKCON ignored all of your warnings is almost endless, it would be like writing an encyclopedia of deviations. The good news is that more and more people are waking up to the fact that all of these deviations are not what you wanted and ordered. More and more people are repeating what you said all along: Acharyas do not fall down into illusion and debauchery; No one should edit the books of a pure devotee; Children need to be cared for and brought into the religion; Samkirtana means chanting the names of God and not selling football stickers, and so on and so forth.
So we are very encouraged to have more and more allies helping along these ideas, that your orders need to be implemented, and we need to pull out these weeds of all these deviations. At the same time, all of this is to be expected due to the nature of Kali Yuga, where people in general tend towards deviations, making bogus gurus, and so forth. In any case we are very encouraged that your message has not been lost, and there are a lot of people who want to accept you as their guru -- and as such -- your mission and process will continue and expand as time goes on, and it is expanding at present.
As for me personally, many of your disciples said to me all this is "too complicated" for them to understand and deal with. I never saw it that way. Its very simple. You said the acharya must be pure: (Antya 7.12) "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that unless one is directly empowered by the causeless mercy of Krsna, one cannot become the spiritual master of the entire world (jagad-guru). One cannot become an acarya simply by mental speculation. The true acarya presents Krsna to everyone by preaching the holy name of the Lord throughout the world. Thus the conditioned souls, purified by chanting the holy name, are liberated from the blazing fire of material existence. In this way, spiritual benefit grows increasingly full, like the waxing moon in the sky. The true acarya, the spiritual master of the entire world, must be considered an incarnation of krsna's mercy. indeed, he is personally embracing krsna. he is therefore the spiritual master of all the varnas and asramas."
Its really that simple, the guru is the pure representative of God, so he must be as pure as God, this is not really complicated at all. In any case, I am taking shelter of you to try to understand the mentality of a real devotee by reading your statements -- such as, "Personally, I have no hope for any direct service for the coming crores of births of the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command. -Abhay Charan Das 1936"
In sum, I am praying always that you please accept me as your servant, trying to be your servant, Puranjan das