Bhakti Vikasa Swami's reply to statements made by one Neal Delmonico
REPLIES TO DELMONICO
A certain Nitai dasa once served Srila Prabhupada as a Sanskrit assistant but offended Srila Prabhupada so badly (by asking his blessings to find “a bona fide spiritual master”) as to become the only one of his disciples to suffer public rejection (See conversation quoted below). Srila Prabhupada thenceforth stated in a circular to the entire GBC: “Please let it be known that Nitai has become a venomous serpent. Be careful of him.” Nitai soon found a “better guru” but soon left him also to return to America. He now hosts a website in his secular name of Neal Delmonico, wherein he describes himself as an unemployed scholar of Indic religion and philosophy, and has taken to attacking the very Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage he was previously initiated into, namely that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his disciplic descendants.
Although I received Delmonico’s list of accusations in an unsolicited email of April 2002, I didn’t take them very seriously, considering that the spiritual qualifications and achievements of those he attacked were so clearly and monumentally greater than his own, that only persons of exceedingly poor discrimination could be influenced by Delmonico. Any neutral and somewhat sane observer who measures what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati has done for the world against what Delmonico has done, and the character and obvious spiritual realization of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati against that of Delmonico, must surely conclude that Delmonico is not at all in a position to criticize Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and is indeed taking a grave risk in doing so. Even without understanding the intricacies of various arguments offered, persons of balanced discrimination should immediately understand that if they have to choose between the position of Delmonico (and those he professes to defend) and that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, they are spiritually safer in choosing the latter. Unfortunately, it seems that those indiscriminate enough to be swayed by Delmonico’s poor taste is prevalent enough to warrant at least some reply; thus my response below, which does not examine Delmonico’s points in great detail but is just to indicate that he is not as axiomatically correct as he avers (See below Delmonico’s accusatory essay, to which this essay is a reply).
Before examining Delmonico’s accusations against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, it should be noted that Delmonico has no pretensions to any spiritual standing. As he states on his website:
“I am a skeptic… Over the years I have seen my attitude towards the Vaisnava tradition and towards religion in general change. I now see religion as mostly a form of fantasy-fulfillment, explainable better in terms of human need rather than divine revelation. Religious fantasies are for the most part harmless, but some times they become so powerful and intertwined with reality that they become like a sickness. This is when religion becomes very dangerous. …religious beliefs remain fantasy until proven otherwise and the standard of proof here is empirical.”
Presuming that most readers targetted by Delmonico’s diatribe are persons interested in practical cultivation of Krsna consciousness, they should note that Delmonico has nothing to offer spiritually. He has no spiritual advice other than to declare religion as a potentially dangerous form of fantasy. He is a self-declared empiricist and a skeptic, not a man of God. Although previously a practitioner of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, about which he gained considerable yet clearly superficial knowledge, he later chose to teach it as a paid servant of beef-eating materialists, and lost faith in the ideal of love of God enshrined in the bhakti movement.
Empiricly speaking, empiricist Delmonico’s fascination with what he considers fantasy appears imbalanced. It also makes him slippery to contend with, as he presents arguments as if he were a votary of a certain school of religion, yet ultimately doesn’t believe in what he pleads for. In other words, he is insincere, and his attacks on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers appear to be motivated by sheer envy rather than a desire to establish something better.
Clearly, although Delmonico’s lucubrations might interest mundane scholars, they are hardly to be considered reliable by persons interested in the genuine spiritual experience offered by Lord Caitanya and His followers. For as repeatedly emphasized in sastra, the supposedly rational intellect cannot approach the supramundane. Thus worldly academicians, despite their scrupulous standards of research and exegesis and laboriously acquired accumulation of facts and figures, are by their very outlook disqualified from inner understanding of Vaisnavas and Vaisnavism. Such personalities as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati simply cannot be understood by the mundane senses or intellect.
As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati himself pointed out:
The empiric historian, with his geographical and chronological apparatus of observation, can have really no proper idea of the grotesque anomaly that he unconsciously perpetrates by his pedantic effort to gauze (sic) the absolute by the standard supplied to her victim by His deluding energy in the form of the mundane categories that can only limit and define them, whereas the function to be performed is to get rid of the necessity to do either. The empiric consciousness is not in the absolute consciousness at all. It can only bungle and commit a deliberate blunder by attempting to limit and define the immeasurable under the pleas of a necessity that need not be supposed to exist at all. By the empiric attitude one is led to launch out on the quest of the Absolute Truth with the resources of admittedly utter ignorance. This foolhardiness must be made to cease. The method of submissive inquiry enjoined by the scriptures should be substituted after being properly learnt by those who have themselves attained to the right knowledge of the same by the right method of submission. (From “The Real Nature of Sree Krishna.”)
Great acaryas appearing in this world may in many ways appear to be ordinary men, for they walk, talk, eat, travel here and there, experience sickness, and in many other ways seem like anyone else. Yet the consciousness of pure devotees is eternally far above that of conditioned souls. Whereas unenlightened persons remain ever enmeshed in maya, liberated souls are perpetually immersed in intense love for Krsna. Their purpose in coming here is to bring others back to that world which they keenly hanker for in separation at every moment. By their causeless divine mercy, they infuse devotion into the hearts of those who have neglected Krsna since time immemorial.
For these reasons one can comprehend the Lord and His devotees not simply by reviewing exoteric historical details but rather from the esoteric spiritual platform of appreciating the Lord’s relationships with His devotees. The character and activities of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati will remain ever incomprehensible to persons who have not entered into the spirit of his teachings, to whom he may seem dogmatic and intolerant. Yet mature students of Vaisnava theology need little warning that the actions, moods, and emotions of great devotees must not be confused with their mundane equivalents, and that the anger, disappointment, and other apparently less desirable traits of maha-bhagavatas are as much manifestations of their pure attachment to Krsna as qualities considered exclusively adorable by persons ignorant of transcendental reality. Fools are thus enjoined to not ascribe imperfection to that beyond their comprehension.
yanra citte krsna-prema karaye udaya
tanra vakya, kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya
Even the most learned man cannot understand the words, activities, and symptoms of a person situated in love of Godhead. (Cc Madhya 23.39)
It is ironic that without the mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers, Delmonico and other self-appointed spokesmen of the old Vaisnava oligarchy would never have heard of Krsna at all, other than perhaps via the academic system which they flopped into after failing in attempts to practice a “higher,” “more authorized” process of bhakti. These ingrates foolishly dare to accuse Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his disciples of misleading and cheating others and being materially motivated—as if they themselves were more saintly, learned, and capable of giving guidance. Yet despite having acquired considerable book knowledge, most of these hellish pedagogues have not been able even to maintain the basic regulative principles of devotional service, and are hence hardly in a position to criticize personages almost universally recognized, except by themselves, as empowered acaryas.
For clearly, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s achievements could not have been possible unless he was imbued with krsna-sakti, the Supreme Lord’s special potency for spreading Krsna consciousness. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta:
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana
The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Unless empowered by Krsna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement. (Cc Antya 7.11)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s unprecedented accomplishments in spreading the message of Lord Caitanya—his profuse writing and publishing, establishment of numerous temples and monasteries, convincing of thousands to radically alter their lives in serious pursuit of spiritual values; the high quality of religious practice which he gave, his revival of a Gaudiya tradition almost lost in sensuality and irrelevance to a rapidly changing world; his natural indifference to sense gratification, forceful proclamation of truth without regard for cheap popularity, and the philosophical depth and realization which he communicated—clearly establish him as an extraordinarily empowered transcendental personality. To pronounce him an offender to Vaisnavas, not properly initiated, or mistaken in his methods or teachings is flagrantly inconsistent with his superlative achievements. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta: Lord Caitanya’s divinity is clear from His uncommon deeds and Krsna conscious realization; yet faithless persons do not see what is clearly evident, just as owls do not see the sunlight (See Cc Adi 3.85-86).
The biographies of Caitanya Mahaprabhu explicitly declare the Lord’s desire that His name be preached all over the world, but myopically traditional Vaisnavas are not interested in this, nor have they any inclination or clue as to how it might transpire, remaining apparently blind to the fact that it is actually happening all around them, and that whatever prominence they may have acquired is merely a spinoff of the global diffusion of bhakti. They have nothing to say about this transcendental phenomenon, except to criticize devotees favored by Lord Caitanya to fulfill His wishes. Undoubtedly only a person with no true connection with Mahaprabhu would fault great personages engaged in widespread preaching of His name and message, for a true follower should be delighted at the wonderful perfusion of His glories throughout the planet.
Those self-appointed spokesmen of the “traditional school,” who as either born or converted mlecchas could never have been accepted as disciples by strictly traditional caste conscious brahmanas and Vaisnavas, loudly tout brahmanism by birth—a position utterly meaningless in today’s world, wherein the family name is usually the only difference between supposed brahmanas and the plebian masses they presume themselves superior to.
These unreasonable faultfinders profusely quote sastra without comprehending that since sastra gives innumerable varied injunctions applicable to different times, places, and circumstances, and that because no one is able to follow everything in sastra, nor even in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (certainly Delmonico does not do so), it is the duty and prerogative of an acarya to select those instructions suitable for the specific situation in which he has appeared; thus his teachings are to be understood according to the context in which he ministers. Particularly, his absolute teachings should not be confused with his functional ones, and as demonstrated throughout sastra, lower principles may be adjusted or foresworn to facilitate higher principles—basic points that the scholarly critics wholly fail to grasp.
Like acaryas Ramanuja and Madhva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was a revolutionary with the task of reestablishing a nearly dead or forgotten religion. Although their messages appeared to be new, each presented his doctrine so powerfully that it came to be accepted even during his lifetime. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appeared at a time of increasing materialism and impiety. Gaudiya Vaisnava society was almost wholly aberrant, to the extent that it was common even for its leaders—putative sadhus and gurus—to indulge in illicit sex and other vices (This is recorded in annals of the time, such as the writings of Bhaktivinoda Thakura; the Britisher Melville Kennedy documented in some detail the appalling state of Gaudiya Vaisnavism in the early twentieth century).
Pretense of spiritual advancement by persons of base character was so much the norm that aspirants for bhakti were almost certain to be misled by hypocrites posing as spiritual guides. Or even if somewhat serious newcomers were fortunate to attain good association, most were unqualified to avail of it. For instance, several aspiring devotees associating with Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji adopted his dress and attempted to follow his lifestyle. However, for practically all novices it was unviable to immediately come to the stage of a maha-bhagavata, and Babaji Maharaja rejected those who although unfit tried to do so. Unfortunately for such neophytes, there was no system or guidance for gradually advancing and overcoming anarthas. Their only options were to become an imitative babaji or a Vaisnava householder, in either case under the skewed, or at best inept, tutelage of an unqualified guru.
Perceiving that Gaudiya Vaisnavism as practiced during the past four hundred years was no longer practicable, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati divorced himself from its false proponents and introduced a new approach and social order sufficiently different as to be clearly distinguishable from the former. He not only revived the true spirit of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, but inaugurated a method by which it could again be propagated to the masses. Previously Bhaktivinoda Thakura had uncovered the authentic Krsna consciousness movement preserved by a few reclusive maha-bhagavata babajis. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati now transferred this elixir of Krsna consciousness into a new container. He transformed religious practices suitable only for rare maha-bhagavatas into a pragmatic system on the madhyama-adhikari platform, thus creating an active preaching mission directed toward all people, regardless of class, caste, or cultural level. To effect such a transposition he necessarily had to make drastic reforms, but the result was an obvious success. Revolution literally means “to come back to the original point,” and that indeed was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s motto: “Back to home, back to Godhead.”
To turn to Delmonico’s specific accusations against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, as stated in his essay given below (which although distasteful need be read to understand my replies). Delmonico states: “Sri Kisori Mohana Gosvami and Sri Kisori Das Babaji witnessed that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, when asked by Siddha Sri Ramakrsna das Pandit Baba in the early 1930s, declared that he was initiated in a dream.” Delmonico then goes on to explain why such initiation is bogus. But Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati never told such a thing to his followers and indeed upheld an entirely different version of his initiation. As such one of these two versions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s initiation may be taken as a fabrication. It is reasonable to accept the account consistently given by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s followers rather than that proffered by Delmonico.
Delmonico later asks, “Why do all Gaudiya Matha-chronicles give different dates and places of Bhaktisiddhanta's supposed initiation, some saying that he received Nrsimha mantra, as if Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji was a worshipper of Nrsimha?” I have not seen any Gaudiya Matha-chronicles that state that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati received Nrsimha mantra from Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. It is well known that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati received Nrsimha mantra from Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I am also not aware of different dates and places being given for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s initiation. The biographies concur that it was 1900 in Navadvipa. I have not seen an exact spot and date stated; but even if they are, and contradictorily so, apparent discrepancies in details do not necessarily invalidate a story, for details may have become lost or confused in course of time. Early followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, such as Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja, have also recorded their personal witnessing the guru-disciple relationship between Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, which thus even by empirical analysis appears undeniable.
Delmonico contends that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s acceptance of sannyasa from a photo of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, his donning of a brahmana’s thread, and his adoption of saffron rather than white cloth, all contravene sastra. This may be superficially so, but are to be understood as adjustments that serve the highest principles of sastra. Lord Caitanya superficially took sannyasa from a Mayavadi, and that He would sometimes in humility introduce Himself as a Mayavadi sannyasi is sometimes cited by foolish commentators that the Lord was indeed a Mayavadi. Such mistaken acceptance of the external manifestation of an activity of a great acarya, without understanding the essential reasons for his choosing to adopt a particular mode of behavior, typifies mundane scholars who are blind to the beneficial effects thus produced. Such an assumption is also characteristic of the general superficiality of these smarta-like “diksa lines.” By the way, according to his biographers Sripad Ramanujacarya took sannyasa “by himself.”
Delmonico himself gives the example of a Vaisnava guru who wore burlap (presumably referring to Tinkori Baba, another guru who Delmonico went to and again left) which is certainly not white. If according to Delmonico burlap is acceptable, then why not saffron?(Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati has in his commentary on Cc Antya 13.61, rakta-vastra ‘vaisnavera’ parite na yuyaya, explained why servants of Vaisnavas accept sannyasa and the saffron cloth that goes with it.) By criticising wearing of non-white-cloth as non-sastric and therefore bogus, yet deigning to allow Tinkori Baba’s donning of burlap, Delmonico torpedoes all his subsequent arguments against Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and others who he accuses of not following sastra. This discrepancy alone renders his whole thesis inconsistent and therefore useless.
Just for the elucidation of nitpickers: typical babaji dress in Vraja is soiled offwhite brown or gray, not pure white.
Delmonico: “A kaupina is given during the ceremony of sannyasa for a lifelong vow of celibacy.”
That kaupins are given to sannyasis is no bar on others wearing them. Traditionally, kaupins are also given to new brahmacaris at upanayanam. And even today not only sadhus but also many householders in India wear them.
Delmonico: “Shaving the head is also only for sannyasis and not for others.”
Wrong again, Professor. Shaving the head is enjoined for householders also, at least on the death of a close relative and on visiting holy places. As you are defending the babajis, most of whom have shaved heads, please go tell them not to as they are not sannyasis.
Delmonico: “Gaurakisora was initiated in the Advaita parivara. Why did Bhaktisiddhanta not wear his guru's tilaka if he was really his disciple?” Apart that Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji as an avadhut was reputed not to wear tilaka, certainly Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wanted to distance himself from these parivaras, who promoted guruship by birth alone—a misconception that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati fought against throughout his life. As such there is no harm if he introduced a slightly different form of tilaka, as sastra only gives general indications of how tilaka should be applied and there is no stipulation that it must be of particular form or shape other than two vertical lines and a mark resembling a tulasi leaf. The proliferation of tilaka designs came after Sanatana Goswami compiled Hari-bhakti-vilasa and there is no record of how exactly Sanatana or other of the six Goswamis applied tilaka. Various tilaka designs were introduced by different Vaisnava acaryas at different times and there is no harm if Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as a Vaisnava acarya also introduced a different design. Even if his disciples did not use a well defined form of tilaka, there is no contradiction of sastra therein.
Delmonico: “The guru-parampara is placed in the wrong order on Iskcon-altars. The guru is seated on the disciple's right side at the time of initiation and remains there eternally. On Iskcon-altars the guru is on the left of the disciple. The latest guru should be to the right and the earliest guru leftmost.” There is only convention but not sastric injunction governing the placing of pictures on altars. Certainly if Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had pictures put on altars in that way, he knew what he was doing better than Delmonico, who never sat at the feet of any guru for very long.
Delmonico states: “Most of Bhaktivedanta's followers are not qualified brahmanas... what to speak of knowing Sanskrit, the men don't even know Hindi or Bengali, or even what the weather is like in India.” I beg to inform Professor Delmonico that nowhere does sastra state that knowledge of meteorology, or even of Bengali, Hindi or Sanskrit, are prerequisites for brahmana-hood. And even if they were, still many “born brahmanas” particularly in South India are quite ignorant of Hindi, Bengali, or Sanskrit.
If at all there are to be brahmanas in the world then Delmonico’s desire that they be “born brahmanas” is not the way. It’s probably quite a few years since Delmonico was in India; if he were to return now he would find the weather the same but society quite changed. The old brahmanism is all but dead and Vaisnavas of Western extraction are widely accepted as brahmanas, sannyasis, and gurus. Even many persons born in brahmana families are today disciples of Western-born ISKCON gurus.
However I have some empathy with Delmonico’s analysis that most Western brahmana initiates lack basic sadacara governing cleanliness, chastity, etc.—which is certainly shameful and in need of rectification. We may thank Professor Delmonico for his barbs in this regard and take them as a spur to improve. We may also thank him for personifying what he criticizes so well; by his personal example he has shown us some very dangerous pitfalls that we can now avoid.
However, sastra states and practical experience reveals that by proper training all classes of people can become true brahmanas by character and behavior and indeed there are already some good examples of this in the West. In the modern world it certainly is difficult to train people in sadacar, which is now practically lost even in India due to its present rampant materialism, but nevertheless by Krsna’s grace education of devotees is improving in the present phase of ISKCON’s pioneering work.
It would be nice if the less qualified sudra (i.e. out of work hireling) Delmonico could give up his envious attitude and join this educational attempt, thus putting his considerable book knowledge to good use and becoming an actual practicing brahmana instead of merely a Sanskrit scholar.
Delmonico proffers several distortions of truth and spurious arguments that beg the question and raise serious doubts about his status as a scholar or even as a clear thinking person. For instance he states, “Introducing varnasrama dharma, which is an institution of karma-yoga, is a namaparadha - dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutadi-sarva-subhakriyasamyam: To consider Hari Nama equal to any auspicious activity like (varnasrama) dharma, vows (sannyasa), tyaga and sacrifices.” But as Delmonico must surely know, neither Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati or any of his subsequent followers have claimed that varnashram dharma is equal to chanting the holy names.
Nor as Delmonico infers was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati intrinsically against calling householders “Goswami,” nor even per se against family succession. It was the overwhelming misuse of these practices that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati stood against.
Most of the parivars are not direct seminal descendants of their supposed founders, and even if they were, atma vai jayate putrah does not mean that a son is automatically as worshipable as an exalted father. For instance in Caitanya Caritamrta, Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami rejected several sons of Advaita Acarya as “useless.” If atma vai jayate putrah were universally applicable, then all men would be as worshipable as Lord Brahma.
Delmonico: “A Vaisnava tyagi is not called sannyasi. In India a mayavadi is called sannyasi.”
But Vaisnavas may also be sannyasis, as in the Sri and Madhva sampradayas, as also Lord Caitanya and His sannyasi associates.
Delmonico: “Sri Jiva Gosvami sees a difference between a sannyasi and a Vaisnava-nivrtta (tyagi): sisyan naivanubadhniyad ityadiko yadyapi sannyasa-dharmas tathapi nivrttanam api bhaktanam upayujyata iti bhavah—Just as it is wrong for a sannyasi to take too many disciples, so it counts also for renounced bhaktas.” It is Delmonico’s interpretation that Vaisnava-nivrtta means tyagi for here Jiva Goswami does not mention the word tyagi.
Delmonico’s questionable scholarship is further reflected in his quoting Advaita Prakash as if authoritative, when its authenticity is hardly . It appears that Delmonico is so extremely biased that under the cover of an erudite veneer he is deliberately misrepresenting truth so as to bewilder devotees of little knowledge and tender faith.
But nonetheless if Delmonico’s quote from Advaita Prakash is to be accepted—"The power of saintly association is so endless that even when one pretentiously dresses as a saint, one will attain liberation”—then even if he considers Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers bogus, then this quote is applicable to them also, and persons associating with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers will also attain liberation (although of course Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not aspire for liberation).
Delmonico: “Saying that Sukracarya, the guru of the demons, refers to the 'caste Gosvamis', (sukra meaning sperm), is not only very offensive but also hypocritical, because Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura is only famous due to glorification by his own son Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.”
Appallingly poor logic. The fame or otherwise of Bhaktivinoda Thakura has no relationship to caste Goswamis being compared to Sukracarya. And it is inaccurate to state that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is only famous due to glorification by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, for Bhaktivinoda Thakura was not, as Delmonico implies, insignificant; he was highly respected by his contemporaries, and his tremendous devotional legacy certainly deserves to be made more widely known.
And yes, Professor Delmonico, we know that babajis aren’t sahajiyas in the usual coinage of the term, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati chose to use this word to generically denote the whole melange of specious Vaisnava sects, who he perceived as being possessed of the basic error of practicing bhakti for their own, rather than for Krsna’s, gratification. This is what Srila Prabhupada also referred to generally as “the sahajiya tendency.” Both acaryas used the term in this much more practical sense, and both achieved the most practical results.
Delmonico: “Deviating from the sastras is often apologised for with the argument: ‘Yes, Prabhupada/ Bhaktisiddhanta was a pure devotee, therefore he was empowered to introduce new injunctions.’” This is another non-argument, for neither Srila Prabhupada nor his Guru Maharaja professed to deviate from sastra.
Delmonico: “Some say: ‘Well, all that scriptural evidence is very nice, but Prabhupada is beyond that. He is empowered by Krsna Himself, you can see that in these 208 temples in 184 countries, 25.000 followers, etc. etc.’ The answer lies in the well-known saying: ‘Religion without (scriptural) philosophy is sentimentalism and/or fanaticism.’ Quantity does not prove quality. Rajneesh has millions of followers, many more than Prabhupada, but does that make him an 'empowered' pure devotee?”
Another tiresome non-argument. No one has ever claimed that Srila Prabhupada is beyond scriptural evidence, although it is accepted that an empowered acarya can adjust or even ignore lesser injunctions so as to fulfill higher injunctions. The whole purpose of sastra is to awaken conditioned souls to Krsna consciousness, and to do so all over the world necessitates breaking sastric rules such as those forbidding travel beyond India, or proscribing taking even water from a sinful person. By understanding the purpose of sastra (see Gita 2.46) Srila Prabhupada was able to establish the principles of sastra, and it is most illogical and malicious to compare his achievement, of convincing thousands of people to take to a clean life of devotional service, with the asastric and amoral popularism of Rajneesh.
Delmonico’s quoting yah sastravidhim utsrjya is hypocritical inasmuch as he himself professedly has no faith in sastra and considers religion a fantasy.
Delmonico: “Throughout this essay it is shown that the followers of Bhaktisiddhanta distribute namaparadha.” All that has been shown is that Delmonico knows a few verses, has acquired a jumble of facts and misinformation about Vaisnava history, and has a remarkably poor sense of logic and an envious mentality by which he proffers some unsupported, thinly supported, or mendaciously supported assertations in an attempt to discredit Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers.
Delmonico attacks the concept of bhagavata-parampara, which has been elaborately defended by other disciplic descendants of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati; thus there is no need to belabor the point here. As in considering all these arguments, it ultimately comes down to who one wants to accept as an authority. Personally I consider that anyone defended by such a spiritual bankrupt as Delmonico is ipso facto suspect; his spiritual paucity similarly tends to lend credence to those he attacks.
Although Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and his followers offer profuse sastric justification for all their tenets, Delmonico accuses them as deviating from sastra. But what is perceived as being in accord with or contradiction to scripture rests mostly on individual acceptance or rejection of various interpretations or explanations offered. By nature, scriptural debate is practically endless ("tarko 'pratistha . . .," etc.), so the real truth is that which mahajanas advocate. This is really is the crux of the matter and brings us full circle: who should we accept, agnostic Delmonico or empowered acaryas Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Prabhupada?
Although sastric evidence is required in Krsna consciousness, it is ultimately a matter of the heart, not merely the head. Persons with a predominantly intellectual approach cannot really take it to heart, and usually get misled by a swollen head. Krsna consciousness is actually very simple for those who are simply interested in Krsna consciousness. Otherwise, it can get more complicated than can be imagined. Therefore although I have made concise replies to Delmonico’s accusations, I don’t intend to get into prolonged discussion about them. There are more important things to do then endlessly haggle with useless people.
SRILA PRABHUPADA ON SERPENT NITAI
Devotee: He asks how many pages. Yogananda asks how many... Because they say that you sent a newsletter to all the GBCs. He asks how many pages was the newsletter. And I said just two lines.
Hari-sauri: Newsletter to the GBC.
Prabhupada: What is that newsletter?
Hari-sauri: You said, "Please be informed that Nitai has become a venomous serpent."
Prabhupada: So this has been sent? (laughs)
Hari-sauri: Yes, to the GBC.
Devotee: Yogananda asked how many pages, when he heard about the newsletter. He thought that you spoke so long about that. And I just said, "Just two lines." But they never asked me what the letter said.
Prabhupada: Yes, two lines is sufficient.
Dhananjaya: Punar musaka bhava. Punar musaka bhava.
Prabhupada: Yes. This is exactly the same case. Punar musaka bhava, you know the whole story? A musaka, a mouse, was made a tiger, and the tiger wanted to eat the saintly person who made him. First of all he was mouse. So he came to the saintly person. "Sir, I am troubled. Give me some benediction.What do you want?Now, the cat always chases.All right, you become cat so that you'll not be attacked." Then after some time he came. "I am being chased by the dog.All right, you become a dog." From cat to dog, from mouse to... Then again he came. "Still, they are chasing me. Fox." And then in this way, and ultimately he made a tiger. And after becoming a tiger, he began to look, staring on the... "What do you mean by this?I shall eat you.Oh? You become again a mouse." (laughter) Again he became mouse. That's all.
Hari-sauri: The perfect example.
Devotee: Now he looks like dirty. You know, like brown. The dhoti's not white. It's like brownish.
Prabhupada: He harassed. "He has not increased my..." Hearing and hearing, he wants to go. So why not, if he found some real disciplic succession, some babaji, why he did not remain there? He is criticizing that our is not in the proper succession. So why he did not remain where he found the proper succession? Why he's sometimes in Vrndavana, sometimes Delhi, sometimes here. Why he is loitering? Crazy. Unfortunate. Unnecessarily picking out some trouble.
Prabhupada: The babajis, they are against anything preaching. They are very, very much against preaching. So I am preaching. Babajis, the Mayavadi sannyasis, and all of them, their idea is that I am ruining this bhajana and Hindu dharma. This is the propaganda. What I am writing, they are all wrong. And they are making... And they try to poison my disciples as far as possible so that the whole institution may be poisoned and break. This is their propaganda.
Hari-sauri: That was one thing that Nitai put in his letter, that the teachings of ISKCON are completely opposite or contradictory to what is actually in the sastra.
Prabhupada: Now he has become tiger. He wants to kill that philosophy. When he did not know anything he came to us. Now he has become learned, he wants to criticize. The same philosophy. "You have made me tiger, now I can see you are my eatable." (laughs) He could not find out any other eatable. "I shall eat you." The rascal. What can be done? (end)
(Room Conversation -- October 31, 1976, Vrndavana)