Moderator’s note: The author of this article, Praghosa das ACBSP, is not Dandavat’s editor, Praghosa dasa SDG.
I would like to offer a statement by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada from the Srimad Bhagavatam 7th Canto. In the normal course of events we may lose sight of the most important “essence” of Lord Chaitanya’s mission; which is no less than the ultimate liberation of all living entities in this universe by means of the Samkirtan Yajna - the reverent and affectionate recitation of the Holy Names of Hare Krsna Hare Rama!!! This single verse and purport fully illuminate the simplicity of the purpose and actions of the Lord and His devotees.
This “essence” was personified by Srila Prabhupada and all his actions. While many devotees have called for the resignation of HH Dhanudar Swami - I would like to highlight the importance of the Holy Name and point out what is obvious to those of us who had the blessed good fortune to serve Srila Prabhupada while he walked amongst us. There were many instances, during Srila Prabhupada’s lila, where different devotees were discovered to be deficient in some manner or had had some “lapse” in their service or committment to their rounds or their adherence to the regulative principles. But later - given the chance to renew their committment to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and their own spiritual progress, he would demonstrate little or no regard for their lapse and immediately show keen enthusiasm to embrace and more importantly ENGAGE them in a practical and useful way - in his efforts to spread Krsna Consciousness and the Holy Names of Lord Krsna. This was a very important aspect to the exemplary lila of Srila Prabhupada. He always said “utility is the principle”. We must calculate the “utility” of anything and ANYONE, in respect to their ability to be of some use to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Our desire to see this or that “happen” should by all means reflect the understanding that each devotee who comes to the shelter of Lord Chaitanya, has done so as a direct result of the life and teachings of Srila Prabhupada and his servants. We may offend or even hurt eachother at times in the process. But our discomfort with eachother - should not prevent our understanding that we all enjoy the “privilege” of Srila Prabhupada’s shelter; it is not a “right”. Privileges can be withdrawn. Rights are inalienable and God Given. It is Srila Prabhupada who granted the privilege of his guidance and service to each of us - and that includes HH Dhanudara Swami AND all those who he offended. So calling for continued attention of various degrees to be directed to HH Dhanudhara Swami and the history associated with Vrindanvana Gurukula must reflect the manner in which Srila Prabhupada customarily handled such matters.
Generally Srila Prabhupada handled such matters very privately so as not to risk the ambition of the various devotees in their pursuit of Krsna Consciousness. He was also always willing to forgive, and reposition a devotee in such a way as to capitalize upon that man or woman’s talents and impetus to assist him somehow. He had a mission and he was not about to permit sentiments of anger, resentment or the collective need for punishment or revenge to dictate what needed be done. He never played “Pontius Pilate” to a mob’s demand for Crucifixion. He never permitted the influence of a “demogague” any chance to influence the devotees. Srila Prabhupada well knew that a devotee poorly positioned could wreak havoc, both on his and other’s devtional service, yet their proper placement could allow them to serve a most delightful purpose in the sharing of Krsna Consciousness. There are countless examples of this!
Sannyasa is a vow - not unlike marriage. It cannot be casually renounced. It is itself a committment to the Spiritual Master in the fullest sense. At least that is its true purpose. Those calling for the resignation from sannyasa by Dhanudhar Swami simply do not understand that this cannot be casually done. It is as much an internal committment as one’s committment to one’s spouse or children. Or a soldier’s committment to his country and the chain of command that he serves! It is a man’s committment to Srila Prabhupada and to whimsically forsake it - because “The Crowd” is calling for that - would be an unpardonable sin. It would constitute a most vile form of renunciation. Those calling for it are doing so under the influence of ignorance. Srila Prabhupada would never desire this. He would simply ask - and I am certain he has - Maharja to recommit to preaching with greater vigor than ever, the glories of the Holy Name and the need to submit to mission of our Parampara.
What was done - was done and cannot be undone. But the world needs the Holy Name of Lord Krsna - much more than “The Crowd” needs vengance or satisfaction. Calls for Justice are futile. Justice is inherent in every single moment of each of our lives. There is not a single “reaction” to a single “action” in this world - that is not directly overseen and/or permitted by the Lord Himself. In fact - in the case of devotees - the “reactions” we endure are greatly reduced; down to a fraction. Whatever the chidren of that period were forced to endure - as unpleasant as that may be for some to consider - was a mere fraction of what they would have experienced - were they not devotees. This is the teachings of Lord Sri Krsna Himself. We need to accept it.
HH Dhanudar Swami did what he did - because he wanted to. It demonstrated a very serious character flaw. Very serious. He cannot escape that. But the solution is not to do other than what Srila Prabhupada would do. Srila Prabhupada would merely change his service and task him mightily in some way to more effectively UTILIZE his capacity in the service of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Most men and women who remember the ways of Srila Prabhupada know this to be a fact. I could list many such instances but won’t, simply because it would highlight the lapses or slip-ups of various men or women and this would neither please His Divine Grace or serve to spread the Glories of the Holy Name.
Please read the following verse and note the incredible mercy of Lord Krsna. Then ask yourself - “Would the Lord or Srila Prabhupada ask a sannyasi to step down from - or step up - their efforts to spread the glories of the Holy Name - merely because that sannyasi erred in his dealings with anyone?”
Srimad Bhagavatam 7:1:25 TEXT yan-nibaddho ‘bhimano ‘yam tad-vadhat praninam vadhah tatha na yasya kaivalyad abhimano ‘khilatmanah parasya dama-kartur hi himsa kenasya kalpyate
TRANSLATION Because of the bodily conception of life, the conditioned soul thinks that when the body is annihilated the living being is annihilated. Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme controller, the Supersoul of all living entities. Because He has no material body, He has no false conception of “I and mine.” It is therefore incorrect to think that He feels pleasure or pain when blasphemed or offered prayers. This is impossible for Him. Thus He has no enemy and no friend. When He chastises the demons it is for their good, and when He accepts the prayers of the devotees it is for their good. He is affected neither by prayers nor by blasphemy.
PURPORT Because of being covered by material bodies, the conditioned souls, including even greatly learned scholars and falsely educated professors, all think that as soon as the body is finished, everything is finished. This is due to their bodily conception of life. Krsna has no such bodily conception, nor is His body different from His self. Therefore, since Krsna has no material conception of life, how can He be affected by material prayers and accusations? Krsna’s body is described herewith as kaivalya, nondifferent from Himself. Since everyone has a material bodily conception of life, if Krsna had such a conception what would be the difference between Krsna and the conditioned soul? Krsna’s instructions in Bhagavad-gita are accepted as final because He does not possess a material body. As soon as one has a material body he has four deficiencies, but since Krsna does not possess a material body, He has no deficiencies. He is always spiritually conscious and blissful. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah: His form is eternal, blissful knowledge. Sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah, ananda-cinmaya-rasa and kaivalya are the same. Krsna can expand Himself as Paramatma in the core of everyone’s heart. In Bhagavad-gita (13.3) this is confirmed. Ksetrajnam capi mam viddhi sama-ksetresu bharata: the Lord is the Paramatma–the atma or Superself of all individual souls. Therefore it must naturally be concluded that He has no defective bodily conceptions. Although situated in everyone’s body, He has no bodily conception of life. He is always free from such conceptions, and thus He cannot be affected by anything in relation to the material body of the jiva.
Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (16.19):
tan aham dvisatah kruran samsaresu naradhaman ksipamy ajasram asubhan asurisv eva yonisu
“Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” Whenever the Lord punishes persons like demons, however, such punishment is meant for the good of the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul, being envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, may accuse Him, saying, “Krsna is bad, Krsna is a thief” and so on, but Krsna, being kind to all living entities, does not consider such accusations. Instead, He takes account of the conditioned soul’s chanting of “Krsna, Krsna” so many times. He sometimes punishes such demons for one life by putting them in a lower species, but then, when they have stopped accusing Him, they are liberated in the next life because of chanting Krsna’s name constantly. Blaspheming the Supreme Lord or His devotee is not at all good for the conditioned soul, but Krsna, being very kind, punishes the conditioned soul in one life for such sinful activities and then takes him back home, back to Godhead. The vivid example for this is Vrtrasura, who was formerly Citraketu Maharaja, a great devotee. Because he derided Lord Siva, the foremost of all devotees, he had to accept the body of a demon called Vrtra, but then he was taken back to Godhead. Thus when Krsna punishes a demon or conditioned soul, He stops that soul’s habit of blaspheming Him, and when the soul becomes completely pure, the Lord takes him back to Godhead.
I believe that the answer to this entire matter lies in the essential message contained within this verse and purport given us by Srila Prabhupada. HH Dhanudhara Swami is not OUR servant. He is a servant of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada was sent with a mission and that is to give everyone a chance to “open and account” with the Lord. As it is stated above “The Lord takes into account - how many times we all chant “Krsna Krsna” and in due course of time this chanting - executed either in praise or blame of the Lord - will allow us re-entrance into the Lord’s company!!! Srila Prabhupada needs as many of us as possible to offer this opportunity to the conditioned souls. We all need to analyse our motivation in all of this: is it to serve the purpose of Srila Prabhupada or is it a manifestation of the contaminations of desire - or hate.
With Respect Praghosa Das (ACBSP-NYC)