No Replacing Prabhupada
From Bhakta Steve
9 May 1994
Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, your spiritual master, whom you serve so nicely by preaching his correct intention.
Just got to my P.O. box after two months away. What a pleasure to receive the materials. Your position has the ring of truth and the strength of conviction of nice Vaishnavas like yourself and Yashodanandan Prabhu.
As you write, six of the eleven are “out” of ISKCON. Did Prabhupada make an error in judgment? No! Conditioned souls misinterpreted Prabhupada’s desire. By Krishna’s grace, a few like yourself see things as they are.
Please keep sending me stuff. I look forward to meeting you someday. All glories to the transcendental truth of Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
From Hansadutta das,
26 May 1994
Dear Bhakta das Prabhu:
Thank you for your letter dated May 13, 1994. I thank you also for the check of $108 for the Nama Hatta publication works.
Yashodanandan Prabhu and I were on the way to Santa Rosa to purchase some computer cable when your letter came, so we both read it with great ecstasy and relish. Ananda has been filling up my computer with the various programs and customizing everything for easy use.
We have been associating since May 20th. The weekend of May 20, 21 and 22nd many devotees came here for our first Nama Hatta festival. Dhamaghosh, Rathayatra and wife, even Dristyadhumnya and Gupta made an appearance on Sunday. Gupta will purchase and donate a good copy machine for our use in the publication of the Inside Nama Hatta newsletter. I find that Gupta is very generous and also thoughtful.
I am happy to know that Gour Mohan is still with us. Please ask him to send some report and pictures of his Nama Hatta activities in Benelux.
When we were kids in New York City, the restaurants used to employ derelicts to carry a sandwich sign board to advertize their restaurant—”EAT AT JOE’S.” Simply by walking up and down the city streets with their sandwich board sign, customers would come to their place and business would increase. In a similar way, Srila Prabhupada would engage us in the service of his mission to save the fallen souls. We had no personal qualifications (we still don’t have any qualifications), but by having us cruise the streets dressed in dhotis, shaved head, tilak and chanting the Holy Name of Krishna and distributing his books, so many new devotees came to him. In that spirit we have to go out to meet the public—not with ambition and prestige in our hearts. It is certainly a humbling engagement. When we think that we are deserving of more and attempt to secure some rewards for our street walking, it is then that we fall into difficulty.
Another point that struck me the other day is that when the gurus were detected in their attempt to enjoy gross sense gratification, they offered a reform by making a show of renunciation in giving up vyasasans, pujas, pranams, etc. In this way the foolish ones were satisfied, but this is the bhoga-tyaga syndrome (enjoyment and renunciation).
The positive service to the spiritual master is the missing element in all this bhoga-tyaga. Therefore Srila Puri Maharaja stressed that we must emphasize the worship and glorification of Srila Prabhupada as the Sampradaya Acharya. In fact, when we were together during the festival, Yashodanandan, Dhamaghosh and I decided that we would publish a book for the centennial celebration of Srila Prabhupada, describing how great Srila Prabhupada is. This book, unlike other books written about Srila Prabhupada, will contain factual information (statistical) of his accomplishments in terms of books published and sold, magazines, works of art, temples, guest houses, farm communities and reviews of his writings by prominent scholars and religionists. It should have photos of Srila Prabhupada with famous personalities and profound quotes, including, “They never went to the moon.” If you have any original photos of Srila Prabhupada, please keep them aside for future use. Your suggestions for this publication are welcome, and of course, so is your Lakshmi. This book should be made so that even karmis will like to read it and appreciate, “Here is a great personality.” Everyone always says, “Swami Maharaja has done very nicely,” but they never say HOW NICELY and HOW GREAT HE HAS ACTUALLY DONE.
Also we are planning to make a world tour (Nama Hatta World Sankirtan Party), stopping in the Philippines, Singapore, Bangkok, India, Europe, Russia and various cities in the USA. Perhaps you will like to come along?! If we meditate on this, I am certain that Krishna will provide all the necessary ingredients. I think this is what Srila Puri Maharaja would want us to do.
I hope this letter finds you well. Obeisances to Guru Kripa and all the devotees there with you.
Your humble servant,
From Rasamanjari devi dasi
1 June 1994
Dear Hansadutta Prabhu:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I am not a very good disciple of Srila Prabhupada. My life-style, practices and realizations are not of a very high standard, and I have only a minimal desire to improve. So what I have to say is not anything that any respectable devotee will take note of, because of who I am. At best, I hope to be included as a speck of sand in the association of those who specifically desire a society of devotees with Srila Prabhupada in the center and all others radiating out from him.
Unfortunately, to be an advocate of this is seen as quite controversial by even the most liberal, gentle and fixed-up bhaktas. Speaking of putting Srila Prabhupada back in the center brings accusations of sectarian ideas where there were none before, removing the chance for personal guidance from new initiates, becoming like the Christians, offending other pure devotees (especially in regards to Indian-born), neglecting to see that some of the new ISKCON gurus are quite pure, etc., etc.
My grateful appreciation to Yashodanandan, Bhakta das, Puranjana, Pradyumna, Gauridas Pandita, Sulochan, Nityananda, Krishna-Balarama Swami and so many others.
It is wonderful that you have come to the conclusion that rittvik is what you were supposed to have been performing all along. That you now acknowledge it is a huge step in the right direction for us all. Thank you for producing and distributing two very attractive literatures which present your conclusions nicely for the glory of Srila Prabhupada and the education of society.
I left a box of your literature with the gurukulis in New Dwaraka. One of them just had a dream where Srila Prabhupada held out his hands to her, clasped her hands and she began to cry—so hard that when she woke up she was crying. When I asked her what he was communicating to her, she said she thought he was thanking her and the small group of gurukulis who are regularly chanting and hearing; asking for more surrender and impressing that they are his movement’s future (as he is their future).
My partner Amrita, whom you met, says that what you are promoting makes “perfect sense,” and I think of our perfect process for attaining the perfection of life and know that your current direction is non-different from Srila Prabhupada. I feel like I’m getting Srila Prabhupada back through your group’s endeavors, and I cry long and deeply. I can’t thank you enough. My centennial plan is to assist you. I feel a permanent celebration coming on for the whole universe. His Divine Grace belongs right smack-dab in the center of us all. How could we have lost this vision?
Thank you and others for being so friendly and encouraging. But most of all, thank you again for caring to put Srila Prabhupada back in the center.
I feel as if I am receiving a dear relative back from the dead or like the “one” has placed in front of all my zeros. I feel like the sun has begun to shine after years of cloudy, cold weather. When you wrote in your “Apology to the Devotees” in Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, “Being completely overwhelmed with the fever of pratistha, ” I felt very sad because of my fever, too. My humble apologies firstly to Srila Prabhupada, and secondly to all his followers.
Once I had a dream about Srila Prabhupada. A good friend was considering joining the Sridhar group. I was bewildered. That night, in a dream, I asked Srila Prabhupada what he thought about his disciples who had accepted Sridhar. He said, “They have replaced me.” I said, “I don’t hink I need anyone but you, Srila Prabhupada,” and he said, “You don’t need anyone but me.”
I shared the dream, and I never accepted anyone but Prabhupada directly, but I’ve accepted their reasons for replacing him. Thus I’ve been ill.
I found a copy of the much-used photo of Srila Prabhupada standing with Sridhar. I decided I’d cut it and just keep the photo of Prabhupada. Then I looked at the look on his face and compared it to the relaxed, joyful photo of him with his disciples dancing at San Francisco Rathayatra, 1972 or ’73. I couldn’t even keep just Prabhupada’s photo—he looked so uncomfortable. It amazes me to think that he prefers the association of his mleccha disciples to others with various qualifications. He really loves us—fools that we are.
The Prabhupada party in Los Angeles was nice, but without establishing Srila Prabhupada as the only acharya of ISKCON, such parties are reminiscent of diseased persons going to a feast and believing themselves well while they partake of the delicious foodstuffs. Unfortunately, after the party is over, the party-goers still find themselves in an unhealthy state. The root cause of our sickness must be understood and rectified for us to be truly healthy.
You call yourselves Nama Hatta to differentiate from the society which disobeys our guru’s instruction, but you are the real ISKCON. Several suggestions: if they agree, publish the names, addresses and phone numbers of supporters for questions, encouragement and sharing feelings of ecstasy as the bliss emanating from the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada sweeps over us due to our pleasing him.
How can I serve this most glorious endeavor?
JAI SRILA PRABHUPADA! HARE KRISHNA!
Your humble servant and friend,
Rasamanjari devi dasi
From Dhanvantari Prabhu
All glories to the Nama Hatta devotees of the Lord. Please accept my fallen obeisances.
I am writing at this time to attempt to begin the process of “networking” with other devotees in Nama Hatta’s field of activity. If this results in any type of response in return, then my desire for association will be fulfilled.
Very recently, after reading Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, my mind seems to have cleared regarding many unresolved question that, until now, remained as unseen stumbling blocks haunting my mind. It seems a case of something blatantly obvious and essentially very simple remaining elusive to those not wanting to accept something that would upset a predetermined conclusion, upon which had been based other conclusions and situations advantageous for whatever reason to that person.
In my case, the lack of a bona fide authority meant easy justification of all types of sense gratification. As an example of just how very simple this fact (the fact of eleven rittviks initiating on Prabhupada’s behalf) is, just read the translation of “Sri Guru Parampara” in Songs of the Acharyas song book.
In every verse we are told who SERVED which guru, beginning from Lord Brahma. As each link in the parampara is given, we are told who is the DISCIPLE, who SERVED, who RECEIVED the devotional science, who RENDERED SERVICE, who FOLLOWED. In verse after verse, each link in the chain is added by submitting to the previous acharya, not by self-proclamation, but by serving, following and accepting instruction from the previous link.
Where is the loss? For myself, I am glad to accept Prabhupada as my guru. I feel unworthy, and unfortunate to have never been in his physical presence. But where else to begin but to hear from those more fortunate? What else to do but to try and practice what Prabhupada has clearly laid out for us in his books?
Your fallen servant,