I find it rather sad that a seemingly innocuous query about Srila BV Puri Maharaj (on his Vyas Puja, no less) was perhaps a coy, furtive attempt at trolling for yet another ISKCON/Ritvik/Scions of ISKCON vs. Gaudiya Math mega-debate.
It is repugnant that such an opening was utilized to become controversial, the instigators seize a sanctimonious air of righteous indignation and blame everything, from the Bon Maharaj conflict of the 1960's to relatively recent internet flame-wars perpetuated by so-called representitives of various Gaudiya missions, on somebody asking a question about Srila Puri Maharaj, and Yasodanandana prabhu's response to a question overtly challenging the validity of believing in Srila Puri Maharaj as a bone-fide diksha guru.
There was a time 26-38 years ago, when Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad came to the people of the west, and so many were very mercifully given his direction association, his direct service, and an eternal spiritual connection through diksha, and eternal samskaras through his siksa.
In the meantime, there were a few disciples who were new, or had some poor aptitude to the student guru relationship, and perhaps "I found a really neat guru down the street, and I want to go hear from him. What do you think, swamiji?" was actually uttered a few times, and not just literary hyperbole.
All disciples were to stay with Srila Prabhupad, and rightfully so. With Srila Prabhupad to guide them directly in these beautiful, merciful years, who or what else did they need? And just as Srila Prabhupad had said in some letters, there might have been some godbrothers who had no qualification to give siksa or diksa, but had capacity to do damage to Prabhupad's worldwide preaching efforts. And there might have been qualified souls as well, but for the sake of simplicity and easy understanding of all the newcomers to Krsna consciousness, it was presented in a simple manner. "Hear from me only" (approximation).
Years later, it was the zonals acharyas who ultimately did the most damage to Srila Prabhupad's movement, and made the world, especially the US, see it as a scandalous cult. The more extreme ritviks who had the fortune of having association of Srila Prabhupad while he was on the planet, who expect everyone else to see Srila Prabhupad from their eyes don't improve this dark situation.
Some of us were too young to have ever taken face to face initiation with Srila Prabhupad (or perhaps some of us found Krishna conciousness at an older age!). We should not be chewed out for taking shelter of one of Prabhupad’s godbrothers, or even one of the disciples of his godbrothers (god-nephews?).
What is sad is that we are subject to the shameless proselytizers who are hawking their version of how things went between their group and Srila Prabhupad. I may be seen as a young, and impressionable person who can get sucked into a group, so borrowing a phrase from the previous poster, “So, if proper context is derived from these statements, this is the scenario.”
I have been pressured either to accept the so-called Prabhupad Ritvik order of July 9 th 1977, heed the conversation between Narayan Maharaj and Prabhupad where “see to them” = take Diksha shelter of Narayan Maharaj, or to read a plethora of letters by Prabhupad written during the prime of ISKCON where his disciples were to avoid his godbrothers, and accept that as canon governing our modern scenario.
If I accept one of those 3 over the other, I have older men from 2 other groups telling me how misguided I am, and how saddened Srila Prabhupad would be. If I choose none of the above, then even worse, all 3 and maybe even more want a piece of the action. But I want nothing of it.
Let me finally make it clear that I am certainly not upset when I hear some people like one institution, like one acharya etc, but don't feel inspired by the other. To let this intolerance get thrown around is the complete antithesis to the compassion and open-minded tolerance that Sanatana Dharma is universally known for.
You will never convince me that your ISKCON/Ritvik/Scions of ISKCON mission is so righteous and pure that I would abandon my Gaudiya Math guru, and I in turn will never convince you that my Gaudiya Math guru is superior to your ISKCON/Ritvik/Scions of ISKCON guru or institution. I accept that, and I hope you all do too.
The pasting of quotes below is definetely not an attempt to say I'm right and you're wrong, but the variation in instruction by Srila Prabhupad shows you cannot merely oversimplify, and call every single Gaudiya Vaishnava besides Srila Prabhupad "a really neat guru down the street" that would make Srila Prabhupad "saddened" if we hear from them.
"In keeping with the spirit of the previous acarya's vision of Gaudiya-Madhva sampradaya, to cement relations with all the sister temples of Gaudiya-Madhva sampradaya under one banner, to solidify preaching the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as desired by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda and all the previous acaryas in this line." (Room Conversation, Vrindaban, October 29, 1977
"Even amongst our God-brothers we have misunderstanding but none of us is astray from the service of Krishna. My Guru Maharaja ordered us to execute his mission combinedly. Unfortunately we are now separated. But none of us have stopped preaching Krishna Consciousness. Even if there was misunderstanding amongst the God-brothers of my Guru Maharaja none of them deviated from the transcendental loving service of Krishna. The idea is that provocation and misunderstanding may remain between one man and another. But our staunch faith in Krishna Consciousness may not allow any material disruption. Please therefore try to be sympathetic with any person even if they differ. The only qualification we have to scrutinize is if one is acting in Krishna Consciousness as far as one is able to do it. This personal grudge is not inhuman and as I have told many times, that individualism is the cause of personal misunderstanding. When such individualism is employed in the center of Krishna there is no harm even if there is personal misunderstanding. Personal misunderstanding exists even in the higher levels. There is competition of loving Krishna even in the party of Srimati Radharani." Letter to: Brahmananda : 67-11-18 Calcutta
"Among Vaisnavas there may be some difference of opinion due to everyone's personal identity, but despite all personal differences, the cult of Krsna consciousness must go on. We can see that under the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja began preaching the Krsna consciousness movement in an organized way within the past hundred years. The disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, every one of us is spreading this Krsna consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world." Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4: Chapter Twenty-eight, Text 31