The Solution to the Puri Situation

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B. V. Bhagavat Maharaja: First of all I offer my most humble obeisance unto the lotus feet of my Spiritual Master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. I then offer my obeisances unto all the Vaishnavas and Vasihnavis.

I have been reading the different expressions of outrage on this and other sites over the offensive behavior of the Puri Priests and Panda’s toward Srila Prabhupada. What I have not read is how the Priests will atone for their offensive behavior. I have seen on one other sites that these Priests have apologized for their behavior. I suppose in their minds this is an acceptable soloution. However, in my mind and heart it is not and I am sure that it is not satisfactory in the minds and hearts of any one else who is a disciple or follower of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. I would like to propose an atonement that I personally feel will be an appropriate resoloution to the problem to the satisfaction of all. Those priests who were responsible for the burning of the effigy should take a life size form of a Srila Prabhupada’s Murti into the Temple when the doors are closed (since one should not be carried into the temple on a palquin in front of the deities). He should then be placed him in a very close and startegic position giving him an excellent and unobstructed view of the Deities and then the doors should be open so He can take Darshan. He should be given a splendid garland from Lord Jagganath by the hands of the priests who committed the atrocity. Then he should be taken to a place to have a plate of all varieties of Jagganath Mahaprasad placed in front of Him. Then after half an hour that Maha Maha Prasad should be distributed by tha hands of those very priests to the disciples of Srila Prabhupada and the Priests who committed the act should bear the entire expense for it. The entire ritual should be performed under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada Disciples. The entire thing should be filmed and it should be broadcast world wide with the apology of the priests. Then I feel that myself and all other disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada will feel the priests who have committed these acts will have properly atoned for it. This is my proposal what do all of you who are reading this feel about my proposal. I am also sending a copy of this to Gajapati Maharaja via his email address.

– Your Servant B. V. Bhagavat Maharaja

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1 pustakrishna

Dear Maharaj,
Dandavat and Hare Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupad. The cause of the pandas misbehavior is prideful arrogance. It is the result of centuries of mistreatment of sincere bhaktas by these very pandas and their predecessors. As noted in the Srimad Bhagavatam by Maharaj Parikshit when tempted by Sukadeva Goswami to seek atonement as the final solution, Parikshit Maharaj retorted that atonement is like
hasti-sna, the bathing of an elephant. Once the elephant bathes, it comes onto the bank and then rolls around in the dirt once again. Similarly, the only cure for the hrdaya-granthi of this material consciousness is hearing about the Supreme Lord from faithful bhaktas, and serving the Lord’s devotees with humility and sincerity. Atonement by some ritual is not therefore, in my opinion, of lasting value. To make the guilty parties feel again good about their chronically offensive behaviour is in my opinion useless.
It was my understanding that Srila Prabhupad would not enter the temple of Lord Jagannath during his time as acharya because his disciples were not permitted to enter the temple sanctum. Why would His Divine Grace want to enter now?
Sincerely,
Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on November 18th, 2008
2 Akruranatha

Perhaps the best solution is what was proposed by Pusta Krishna Prabhu earlier: In addition to personally sincerely begging forgiveness by Srila Prabhupada, the temple administration should demonstrate its sincerity by finally allowing non-Hindu-born devotees to be admitted into and worship in the temple according to their qualifications.

After all, it is well known that Srila Prabhupada had requested the administration to give admission to his foreign-born disciples. To finally give up this discriminatory and wrong-headed policy would be a concrete act of serving Srila Prabhupada’s publicly expressed desires.

Perhaps even some compromise could be reached that in exchange for abandoning the policy of not admitting foreign-born devotees in the temple, ISKCON could also agree that Ratha Yatra in certain large Indian cities would be observed on the exact calendar day?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 18th, 2008
3 Unregistered

Dear Pusta Krsna Prabhu and Akrianatha Prabhu,

Thank You both for your comments. I am sorry that I did not make myself more clear in the article. When I mentioned that this ceremony should be performed under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples I meant, ALL of His disciples who were there in India eastern and western. SO I agree that He would not want to go in without His western disciples and I agree that allowing us to enter would also be an important expression of a more permanent atonement. After all I spent almost a year in negotiations with the Temple administration, the Speaker of the House, State of Orissa, the Minister of Tourism, State of Orissa, and the former Governor of Uttar Pradesh who was Orissan Visvanatha Dasa, under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada to get the ISKCON devotees into the temple in 1975-76.

I also understand that just by performing this ritual they may not permanently change their mindset. However hearing that they offered some verbal apology to a few people just does not do it for me and anyone that I have talked to about it. Something more concrete like I suggested and Jagabhandu also suggested on another website which I saw after I posted this. Or any other visible physical adoration of Srila Prabhupada that they can perform would demonstrate atonement for the physical abuse they performed previously. At least that is how I feel. Words just won’t do! That is far too easy. Just like in the case of Ambarish Maharaja and Durvasa Muni. The sage had Physically threatened Ambarish Maharaja and the only response that would do was not words of apology to even Lord Vishnu but the act of physically prostrating himself before Ambarisha Maharaja and begging forgiveness and offering prayers. The physical abuse of Srila Prabhupada deserves a physical demonstration of remorse and praise by the offenders. AS vaishnavas we have to educate the Puri Priests on the dangerous repercussions of what they did and give them the proper path to rectification. WE could take it a step further and say that the offenders should hear the Katha of Ambarish Maharaja and Durvasa Muni from the lotus lips of Srila Prabhupada in a taped lecture so that they realize the gravity of what they have done. This would address Pusta Krsna Prabhu’s point about hearing from the faithful Bhakta’s. However I feel strongly that the physical abuse of Srila Prabhupada deserves a physical demonstration of remorse and praise by the offenders.

Comment posted by bvbswami on November 18th, 2008
4 Akruranatha

Dear Bhagavat Maharaja,

Thanks for clarifying that the proposed ritual would include the admission of non-Hindu born devotees into the temple (at least for the occasion of the proposed program).

The idea of listening to a lecture by Srila Prabhupada might be a good idea too. And they should be well-informed of the glories of Srila Prabhupada’s service and preaching, of how he organized Ratha yatras in Calcutta as a small boy, and how he visited Puri in his youth, how Lord Jagannatha self-manifested (via his disciple Malati) in San Francisco and became the first Deity worshipped in ISKCON, and how many Ratha Yatras have been observed by ISKCON in so many locations around the world, how much chanting goes on and prasadam gets distributed and books get sold and what sacrifices are made and difficulties surmounted for pulling these festivals off in so many locations every year.

Lord Caitanya decreed (as recorded in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta) that every human born in India should make his life perfect and engage in the highest welfare work of preaching the Krishna bhakti cult. He predicted that His name would be preached in every village and town in the world. These pandas should be made to appreciate how Srila Prabhupada carried out such orders and fulfilled such predictions on an unprecedented scale (and personally observed Ratha Yatra on different dates). Only then could they begin to fathom the seriousness of their offense.

I do not know anything about what happened and what is currently happening, beyond what I have read on Dandavats. I also know nothing about the Puri temple administration nor even about the attitudes of the various parties involved in the protests and the administration (except that the low mentality of the protesters is evident from their outrageous acts themselves).

So, please do not take very seriously my comments here on Dandavats. I am just indulging my propensity to participate in the discussions. I do not pretend to have any specific insights.

Your experience in preaching in the area and in dealing with the temple administration in the past might give you some very useful expertise in understanding what on earth is going on and how ISKCON should officially respond. (There should be an official response.)

I anxiously look forward to seeing how this tense situation unfolds, knowing full well that the Lord always protects his pure devotees and often works in mysterious ways.

Y.s., Akruranatha das

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 19th, 2008
5 Akruranatha

Responding to the situation in newspaper editorials and other mass media outlets could be a golden opportunity to preach and get ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada’s name out there before the public in a favorable light.

Our experts in the “communications” field should be working overtime (I imagine they probably are) in addressing the situation, taking full opportunity to make the consumers of news (as well as those directly involved in the dust up) more acquainted with the glories of Srila Prabhupada and what he has done by founding ISKCON and establishing the observance of Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha Yatra for the benefit of all the people of the world.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 19th, 2008
6 Unregistered

Dandavatts Bhagavat Maharaj(and to all present)!

Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga Jayate! All Glory to Srila Prabhupada!

I very much like your suggested solution for hopefully rectifying the great offense to Srila Prabhupada in Puri. Vaishnavas (the servants of Lord Vishnu) are naturally compassionate to the suffering of other living entities and therefore are always seeking to proffer spiritual upliftment as a means for relieving their distress. Punishment is in the province of Sri Yamaraj and sometimes Sri Sudarshan Dev as in the unfortunate case of Durvas Muni’s great offense to the lotus feet of Maharaj Amburish. The present unfortunate incident is very analogous in this regard. Just as Lord Vishnu gave advice to Durvas Muni on how to rectify his offense. We should know that Lord Vishnu’s devotees would represent Him with similarly compassionate advice towards hopefully effecting a solution for overcoming offense which is agreeable to all concerned parties.

My own letter to the Puri Venerables initially appeared in rough draft on Dandavats.com as comment to Professor Provost’s nice article on Saturday morning. When I wrote it I was thinking of how this terrible incident might hopefully be ameliorated so that the offenders might not have to suffer for their grave insult to Srila Prabhupada and his worldwide followers. The incident of Durvas Muni immediately came to mind.

I was very interested to hear from Sripad Pusta Krishna Prabhu and your Holiness more detailed information about Srila Prabhupada’s own mood and feelings regarding Sri Puri Dhama. I also saw on another webpage where Sripad Ksamabuddhi Prabhu mentions that Srila Prabhupada had said that when the ISKCON Bhuvaneshwar temple was built, Lord Jagannath would leave Puri to reside there instead. We might also remember the consideration that Srila Saraswati Thakur himself had disagreements with way kirtan was performed in Puri, which were apparently never resolved, even with the intervention of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur himself. It would be good for us to know more about these things in terms of sourcing quote veracity, etc. When seeking to harmonize opposing elements without compromising ideological integrity—always consider everything, if possible, simultaneously.

Humbly,

Jagabandhu das

Comment posted by jagabandhu dasa on November 19th, 2008

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