To many people both inside and outside the Movement, ISKCON's current Guru system is a complete farce. Perhaps predictably, all the scandal, fall downs and endless self-contradiction amongst Srila Prabhupada's wannabe successors (the 80 competing ISKCON 'Gurus') has opened the way for yet another personality, this time from outside ISKCON, with designs on Srila Prabhupada's legacy.
The GBC have preached for many years that everyone must have a "living, physically present Guru" (or anyone but Srila Prabhupada), and now they are reaping their reward. His Holiness Narayana Maharaja, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada's Godbrother, His Holiness Kesava Maharaja has had considerable success in attracting both ex and current members of ISKCON to his camp, by promoting his qualification as a "living, physically present Guru", who is bona fide and won't fall down, unlike the ISKCON Gurus.
Of course for many years NM was promoting the GBC's gurus as his "rasika" disciples, and he defended keeping these GBC's gurus in the post of being bona fide "diksha gurus," never mind he knew we were protesting his alleged gurus. Meanwhile, he said that worship of the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada is the "ritvik poison" deviation, and he promoted the GBC's gurus as his acharyas instead of Srila Prabhupada.
* Why was he saying conditioned souls can absorb sins like Jesus and be diksha gurus?
* Why did he say that Srila Prabhupada is wrong to say we originated in Krishna's leela?
* And why was NM helping the GBC's co-write many foolish documents like their "Guru Reform Notebook"?
* Why did NM refuse to meet me after inviting me to his ashram?
* Why did NM say Tulsi prayers are "karma kanda"?
* Why did NM attack Srila Prabhupada's program of having Narasimgha deities in his Radha Krishna temples, saying Narasimgha will "scare Radharani"?
And NM was in Dallas and many other places associated with Tamal Krishna swami's program. And he was the darling "shiksha guru" of many other of these GBC guru gangsters, of course Tamal was the main leader of the GBC's self-appointed acharyas program. When we came out with the poison issue in 1997, NM said this was very offensive (to show that his alleged rasika disciples were the Judas of ISKCON). And he battled with me for years over this issue, trying to defend the Judas sabha.
In 1984 NM started helping Satsvarupa and the bogus GBC write "The Guru Reform Notebook," where Narayana Maharaja helped establish that acharyas are often deviants who need "reform." Worse, Narayana Maharaja said that the children who were abused under his and Tamal's GBC's guru regime, the regime he supported, "were just getting their karma." He is authorized to dish out karma to others?
Narayana Maharaja likes to portray himself as a mere humble servant of Srila Prabhupada, who simply wants to bring everyone to Srila Prabhupada through a deeper appreciation of his mission and teachings:
"You should know who your Prabhupada is. You should know. Then you can glorify him, otherwise you cannot."
(Narayana Maharaja, Los Angeles, May 31st, 2000)
In this article we shall use Narayana Maharaja's own words to see if he is bringing us closer to Srila Prabhupada.
Narayana Maharaja Claims To Be Srila Prabhupada's Successor
Narayana Maharaja makes it clear that he is here not to bring people TO Srila Prabhupada, but to actually REPLACE Srila Prabhupada as his SUCCESSOR:
"I am the real successor of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and there is no other."
(Narayana Maharaja, Murwillumbah, Australia, February 18th, 2002)
Above, Narayana Maharaja boldly stakes out his pitch in direct competition with all the ISKCON Gurus who also want to succeed and replace, not complement, supplement or assist Srila Prabhupada.
Narayana Maharaja Competes Directly With Srila Prabhupada
In pursuance of the above stated aim to replace Srila Prabhupada, Narayana Maharaja has urged his followers to distribute HIS books in preference to those of Srila Prabhupada:
"Now Srila Gurudeva (Narayana Maharaja) has requested that we start what he calls 'a second revolution' in preaching and book distribution. He wants his books distributed in the same volume, 'not less than Swamiji (Srila Prabhupada).'"
(Gaudiya Courier, Issue 15, July 1st, 2004)
Clearly the above goal of trying to match Srila Prabhupada can only be achieved if Narayana Maharaja's books alone are being distributed by his followers, and that is generally what is happening.
Narayana Maharaja Claims Srila Prabhupada Only Gave The "Basement"
To create the demand for his services, Narayana Maharaja claims that there is much spiritual knowledge that Srila Prabhupada failed to give, so that he can claim he has come to fill this gap:
"So Swamiji has at first cleared the atmosphere. Prepared the ground...by preaching name and the sandesh of Gita... he prepared. So very important work ... so he has done this task and it was so necessary for that world...for all world...he has done but he has not done everything by doing that. It was only basement.[…] But...we are deprived of that... he could not complete his work."
(Lecture given by Narayana Maharaja on September 19th, 1994)
Narayana Maharaja Claims Srila Prabhupada Gave Everything
That the above statement is not actually true, can again be proven by the words of Narayana Maharaja himself, who said the following 17 years earlier to Srila Prabhupada himself:
"All of your duties are completed. You have fulfilled everything in your lifetime. There is no need to worry for anything.[…] Yes, you have done everything. Nothing is left unfinished."
(Translation of Bengali conversation between Narayana Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada from October 1977, provided by Narayana Maharaja's own camp)
That Narayana Maharaja would go onto say the complete opposite of what he himself claimed 17 years earlier, demonstrates opportunism of the highest order.
Narayana Maharaja Claims Srila Prabhupada Is Not
The Founder-Acarya Of Iskcon
This opportunism is further displayed in Narayana Maharaja's stating that Srila Prabhupada was not the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON. It is surely a redundant point that Lord Krishna (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) is the origin of all Krishna consciousness, so one wonders why Narayana Maharaja feels it so important to belittle Srila Prabhupada's position and promote his own position by stating such an obvious point:
"Also you should know that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the founder of ISKCON. Swamiji, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja is one of the prominent acaryas in this line only. He is not founder…"
(Narayana Maharaja 28th April 1999, morning speech, Caracas, Venezuela)
"Your Prabhupada, Srila Swami Maharaja, only changed the name into English. He is not the founder acarya of that eternal ISKCON… I am ISKCON. I'm not different from ISKCON. I am 'Bhaktivedanta' [Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja]. Like father, like son. I am the real successor of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and there is no other. You should know this very openly. I am Bhaktivedanta and he is Bhaktivedanta, but he received this name after I did. I'm senior to him in this regard… I'm Bhaktivedanta, and I'm also ISKCON. Don't think that I'm out of ISKCON."
(Narayana Maharaja, Murwillumbah, Australia, February 18th, 2002)
But according to Srila Prabhupada:
"I am the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness."
(Srila Prabhupada letter to Dr. Bigelow, Allahabad, January 20th, 1971)
Narayana Maharaja Deviates From Srila Prabhupada
1 Although he claims to be a successor to Srila Prabhupada, and that Srila Prabhupada is somehow speaking through him, it should be noted that Narayana Maharaja's teachings often seriously differ from Srila Prabhupada's. This is what Narayana Maharaja has to say about Prahlada Maharaja, who is worshipped on every altar throughout ISKCON as a completely pure devotee of Krishna:
"Prahlada Maharaja was a very bona fide bhakta, and he never wanted anything worldly, but he could not serve Krsna. His bhakti was mixed with jnana, knowledge of the Lord's opulence. If you have some worldly desire, or any desire, then your bhakti may be sanga-siddha bhakti or aropa-siddha bhakti, but not pure transcendental bhakti"
(Narayana Maharaja, Hawaii, February 17th, 2001)
Yet Srila Prabhupada's verdict is very different:
"Prahlada Maharaja is the topmost example of a Vaisnava"
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.21.47, purport)
"So we see practically how Prahlada Maharaja immediately attained the state of prema… he first of all followed the instruction of Brahma, then immediately he got the favor of Lord Nrsimhadeva, and after getting that he got the prema state."
(Srila Prabhupada lecture, Mayapur, February 14th, 1976)
"Consequently, instead of accepting the results of karma and jnana, Prahlada Maharaja simply begged the Lord for engagement in the service of His servant."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5.24.25)
Above we see Prahlada Maharaja described as a pure devotee who actually shunned the results of jnana (knowledge).
Narayana Mahara Deviates From Srila Prabhupada
2 Narayana Maharaja claims that Advaita Acarya (one of the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) was incapable of giving people Vraja-Bhakti (pure devotion to Krishna):
"Sri Advaita Acarya...He is a part of the part of the part of the part of Krishna. Being so far away, He can preach with kirtana, but He cannot give Vraja-bhakti. Never. He is not qualified for this. Only Krishna can do this."
(Narayana Maharaja, Los Angeles, California May 31, 2000)
Contrast the above with the following verse from the Sri Caitanya Charitamrta as presented by Srila Prabhupada:
"He (Advaita Acharya) delivered all living beings by offering the gift of Krishna-bhakti (pure devotion to Krishna). He explained Bhagavadgita and Srimad-Bhagavatam in the light of devotional service."
(Srila Prabhupada, Caitanya caritamrita, Adi-lila 6.28)
Thus Narayana Maharaja again disagrees with the siksa (instruction) given by Srila Prabhupada, even though he also rather immodestly claims to be his "dearmost siksa disciple".
(here are more examples of such contradictions ).
ISKCON Publication Contradicts ISKCON Founder-Acarya!
"I have not seen the word "ritvik" in our Vaisnava dictionary…
We have seen no such word as "ritvik"…
In our Gaudiya Vaisnava line there is no ritvik…"
(Narayana Maharaja, p.23, ISKCON Journal 1990)
[NOTE: In the 1990 ISKCON Journal NM says the worst deviants of the Gaudiya Matha are "acharyas like Srila Prabhupada." Of course, why is NM defending the GBC at all by 1990, when we all knew by then they were deviants?]
The word "ritvik" and its derivatives appear 32 times in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the most important Purana for all Vaishnavas:
Ritvik: 4.6.1 / 4.7.16 / 5.3.2 / 5.3.3 / 5.4.17 / 7.3.20 / 8.20.22 / 9.1.15
Rtvijah: 4.5.7 / 4.5.18 / 4.7.27 / 4.7.45 /4.13.26 / 4.19.27 / 4.19.29 / 5.3.4 / 5.3.15 / 5.3.18 / 5.7.5 /8.16.53 /8.18.21 /8.18.22 / 9.4.23 / 9.6.3
Rtvijam: 4.6.52 / 4.21.5 / 8.23.13 / 9.13.1
Rtvigbhih: 4.7.56 / 9.13.3
(Srila Prabhupada, Srimad-Bhagavatam)
"Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has not mentioned that so many others will do acarya, yet they have done. This is the system… So Tirtha Maharaja, Madhav Maharaja, Sridhar Maharaja, our Gurudeva, Swamiji Swamiji Bhaktivedanta Swami they all became acaryas." (Narayana Maharaja, p.23, ISKCON Journal 1990)
"Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya."
(Srila Prabhupada letter, 28.4.74)
"And for a newcomer, it is sure that he should be initiated by a living guru… In the parampara system living guru is essential."
(Narayana Maharaja, p.22, ISKCON Journal 1990)
"What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living."
(Srila Prabhupada, lecture, 69/01/13)
"…one has to associate with liberated persons not directly, physically, but by understanding, through philosophy and logic, the problems of life."
(Srila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatam 3:31:48)
"So there are two kinds of association: physical and preceptorial. Physical association is not so important as preceptorial association."
(Srila Prabhupada letter to Govinda Dasi, 18/8/69)
Narayana Maharaja Claims Srila Prabhupada Asked Him To Guide His Disciples
Narayana Maharaja has claimed that Srila Prabhupada ordered him to instruct Srila Prabhupada's disciples:
"He ordered me, 'Help my disciples' [...] You can get that cassette.[...] If anyone does not have belief in my statements, he can acquire and hear the cassette. At the time he spoke in Bengali so that others would not understand."
(Salt Spring Island, Canada, April 2001, pm)
This claim is based on Srila Prabhupada stating "you kindly instruct them on this matter" to Narayana Maharaja, during a Bengali conversation spoken between the two sometime in October-November 1977.
However, as will be seen from the full translation of this conversation provided by the Narayana Maharaja camp themselves, Srila Prabhupada does not say anything of the sort. Whilst reading the relevant portion of the conversation below, please pay special attention to whom the word "them" in the above sentence refers to; what was the "matter" on which Srila Prabhupada wanted Narayana Maharaja to give instruction; and "when" this instruction was meant to be given:
Srila Prabhupada: Are any of my god-brothers in Vrindavana now?
Narayana Maharaja: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: Who?
Narayana Maharaja: Van Maharaja might be there, as well as Indupati Prabhu from Caitanya Gaudiya Matha.
Srila Prabhupada: Any more?
Narayana Maharaja: Only these two at the moment.
Srila Prabhupada: Who is Indupati?
Narayana Maharaja: He comes here often.
Bhakticaru Swami: From Madhava Maharaja's matha?
Narayana Maharaja: Yes. No one else is here.
Srila Prabhupada: Please call both of them. Van Maharaja and him.
Narayana Maharaja: This is very good proposal by you.
Srila Prabhupada: Please sit down. They will call them.
Narayana Maharaja: All right.
Srila Prabhupada: This cutting of arguments happens sometimes...
Narayana Maharaja: These are insignificant matters in such a substantial worldwide mission. A little something here and there is of no consequence. You have done this wonderful preaching work for the benefit of the whole world. There was no self-interest. You did everything only in devotional service to Krsna for benefiting all people at large.
Srila Prabhupada: It is all by your blessings.
Narayana Maharaja: You have done a wonderful thing. It is necessary to care for and preserve this mission, and see that it is managed skilfully.
Srila Prabhupada: You kindly instruct them on this matter. I'm unable to speak.
When we see the sentence in context, those three aspects become clarified:
1) The word "them" refers to Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers who were to arrive shortly, not to Srila Prabhupada's disciples. The word "them" comes twice before the final sentence, and both times it refers to his Godbrothers, Indupati Prabhu and Van Maharaja.
2) The "matter" on which Srila Prabhupada wanted Narayana Maharaja to instruct his Godbrothers was that they forgive him for any "cutting of arguments" he may have done in the course of his preaching.
3) And "when" was this instruction to be given? There and then. Immediately after Srila Prabhupada asks Narayana Maharaja to give instruction he states: "I'm unable to speak". This is the reason he is asking Narayana Maharaja to make these points to his Godbrothers on his behalf when they arrive.
So here we clearly see a false claim made by Narayana Maharaja to promote his agenda as being the "real successor" to Srila Prabhupada.
In conclusion, on the basis of all the above, it is clear from Narayana Maharaja's OWN WORDS that he is not simply a "dearmost siksa disciple" of Srila Prabhupada whose aim is to help to bring us closer to Srila Prabhupada. Rather he is no different to the 80 wannabe "successor Gurus" of ISKCON, doing and saying whatever is necessary to jockey for Srila Prabhupada's position.