Saturday, 7 January 2012

“Govinda Dasi (ACBSP) speaks on post 1977 Iskcon History”

Paul Howard has brought up some very pertinent points. One, that there were in fact many tapes missing from that time period. Yes, this is true, and my understanding is that Tamal had those tapes and they somehow vanished. They were from the same time period that the July letter was written.
Two, the question of whether Prabhupada’s disciples accepted the zonal acharya eleven. Most of them did not. It is noteworthy that at the time when Srila Prabhupada left, it was understood that the initiations would continue uninterrupted just as they had been going on for some years. This was common knowledge.

Certainly, Srila Prabhupada introduced many unique and “unorthodox” systems for his preaching work, and none of us ever even would consider questioning what he did or how he did it. So this system of initiation had already been in place for some time, even as early as 1970, and it was understood that it would continue.
It was only at the time of the Mayapur meetings that the big change came–some months after Prabhupada’s departure. That’s when things changed.
It’s interesting how I heard about it. I was in the park for a kirtan program around Gour Purnima, just a few months after Prabhupada’s departure. One of my friends and Godbrothers came to me and told me, “Govinda dasi, did you hear what they’re doing in Mayapur? They’re having meetings and they’re planning to set themselves us as Gurus and have zones and get worshipped like on Vyasasans, and so forth.”

I was shocked. I went home somewhat troubled, and at the time I was staying with Sruta Kirti and Kusa, my dear friends. They were already lying down to take rest, though it was early, because back then everyone went to Mongal arotik, so bedtime was by 8:30 or so. I sat on the floor beside their matt, and told them what I had heard in the park. Sruta Kirti, who had been Prabhupada’s servant longer than anybody, and who had also been in Vrindaban shortly before he left, had an unforgettable response.
Here is the gist of what he said, Aw, Govinda dasi, that’s ridiculous. They would never do something like that. Those are Prabhupada’s temples, no body else is going to be worshipped as guru in them, that’s absurd! They would never sit on a vyasasana in Prabhupada’s temples. Those are Prabhupada’s temples! Why, Prahupada’s disciples would kill ‘em! Go to bed, Govinda dasi, stop worrying about this, this is just some rumor…”
Akrurunath, you admit you weren’t around at that time since you were going to college. I was around at that time. I can tell you for certain that Prabhupada was indeed deliberately forgotten, more like shoved in the closet.
On one occasion, there was a young lady disciple of Rameshwar who tried to commit suicide with pills. I went to the hospital to help her, and the doctor released her in my care. I encouraged her to just add Prabhupada’s picture to her altar, and to listen to his tapes. That was an unheard of thing to do. I could have been banned for that, it was considered heresy.
Another young man, a disciple of a still functioning guru, also came close to suicide. I recommended he worship Prabhupada, and pray to him for help. To this day, he says that Prabhupada saved his life. There are many such cases.
Things started changing in 1986, the year of Haleys comet. Gurus as well as South American dictators were deposed. Prabhupada used to say that a comet is like a policemans flashlight; the criminals all run away because they don’t want to be exposed. It brings light to dark places, and misfortune to those who are miscreants.
Then Prabhupada came back into the center of Iskcon at the time of the Centenniel. Before that, he was very unpopular, and many had the attitude that he was to be relegated to some museum position, like a relic, and the new gurus were the only way to become Krishna conscious.
Most of the senior disciples of Srila Prabhupad just stepped back and watched, sad to see their Master’s mission desiccated in this way.
This is just history; as far as I am concerned, I think that every person has a right to choose his guru. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur explains that this choice happens according to adhikar,spiritual eligiblity. From Krishna, one gets guru, and from guru, one gets Krishna. Different people have differing qualifications (adhikar, spiritual eligibility) so each person will be attracted to the guru who is meant for them. Krishna guides this from within the heart; it really isn’t our business to second-guess God.
So far as my own personal experience: did I ever once for even a second believe that he appointed the eleven? NO. Not for even a second.
And Bhagaji’s statement was only added proof of that truth. Bhagaji was there with Srila Prabhupada, and he saw and heard everything. His words to me were: “Prabhupada never appointed anyone. They have simply done this, that’s all.”
I do have faith that Srila Prabhupada is guiding and watching over his Iskcon, and I have no negative feelings about it. And I believe he loves each of his disciples, even those who have gone astray. And even those who have fallen prey to pratistha.
Throughout all the twists and turns, and surprising events, Krishna remains the center, and the Controller, and Srila Prabhupad is at the helm. He is far more powerful than any one of us can ever imagine…

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! This is so inspiring. It appears like it has been a misfortune for things to go the way it did and in the bigger picture is was Krishna will. We are learning from this. I have learned much on this journey to get things strait. And its true we get the guru we are qualified for. Finally I saw the light and got Srila Prabhupada but I had to go through the hoops first like many devotees.