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Rocana Replies to Narasimha das

November 2, 2003

Dear Narasimha das,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The contents and mood of your letter reinforces the theme contained in the title of my paper, “Church of Rtvik”. Your letter personifies the close-minded attitude of the classic “born again” religionist.

Like most religionist zealots, you practice the art of moral piety by the use of complimentary descriptive adjectives when presenting yourself and the other followers, who are described as: polite, sincere, dutiful, obedient, precise, devoted, cooperative, studious, kind, appropriate, serious, and so on. The non-believers are depicted as rambling, insincere, disobedient, offensive, bone picking, smoke-screening, fearful, annoying, independent, uncooperative, poisoned, preoccupied, bewildered, ambitious, misrepresenting, and un-submissive -- an entire catalogue of derogatory terms.

It appears that your objective is to bolster the morale of your membership by dismissing your challenger in this way, rather than by addressing my philosophical points in the spirit of having an open discussion with the intention of searching for truth. Trying to have a serious discussion with members of your group reminds me of the 'old days', and the futility of trying to explain Krsna Consciousness to the wide-eyed “Jesus-freaks”. In order to avoid having to philosophically defend your speculative conclusions, you prefer to simply characterize them as clear, absolute, essential, precise, self-evident and “unchallengeable” truths. By doing so, you hope to give the impression that anyone not seeing them in this light is unworthy of your time and energy. The following excerpt from your email clearly illustrates my point:

It seems you also have a high conception of Srila Prabhupada, yet you have some bone to pick regarding Srila Prabhupada's instructions for initiations. Many neophytes have become preoccupied and bewildered regarding this persistent issue of initiations. This is mainly due to the deliberate misrepresentation of Srila Prabhupada's instructions by a few ambitious men. Srila Prabhupada often said understanding comes through discussion and submissive inquiry, not by challenge. Nonetheless, if you want to go on publicly challenging His instructions, His senior disciples, or His Hare Krishna Society, I suggest you do so by way of replying to the specific items in The Prabhupada Book with which you disagree. Also, why are you avoiding answering the question asked of you my Yasoda Nandan Prabhu? Sounds like you are not serious about actual sadhu-sanga.

The other recipients you copied on your email (Damaghosa, Gauridas, Damodar, Nandikesvara, Yasoda nandana, Sri Mukunda, et al.) have all completely bought into the post-mortem diksa theory. Consequently, they view all other non-believers (who happen to make-up the vast majority of the Vaisnava Community) as faithless, bewildered, preoccupied, un-submissive, non-serious bone-pickers -- in other words, as elephant offenders of Srila Prabhupada.

You indicate that everyone except yourselves were duped by “very ambitious men”. Apparently this unfolded as a grand conspiracy lasting over ten years, until the enlightened Rtvik pandits revealed the truth. For the first ten-year period no one came to the Rtvik conclusion, so we have to assume that the present-day Rtviks were also duped. It seems that we are now expected to believe that the Hare Krishna Society is to be recognized as the official, authentic, original, bona fide society representing Srila Prabhupada. Presumably you, Narasimha, along with Yasoda nandan, Gauridas and the others are to be “henceforward” regarded as the senior most devotees who are heading-up this organization. Anyone not in agreement is simply a neophyte, ambitious power-seeker.

You assume that I have been given a copy of The Prabhupada Book, but I have not been notified of such a publication, nor given a copy. I will offer my comments if you'll send me a digital copy, as I do not find it on your website under "Documents", "Articles", or "Mission Statement". Interestingly, I did find on your website a photograph of myself, Yasoda and Damaghosa, labeled "Devotees". Given your group's characterization of me as such a rascal and offender, I can only guess that the discomfort of including me under such a label is outweighed by the potential value of misrepresenting me to be one of your supporters.

As for your comment that I am not serious about sadhu-sanga, please keep in mind that the Hare Krishna Society has refused to answer my rebuttal to your Rtvik position. Rather than engage in philosophical discourse, you dismissively and dishonestly state that I am inconclusive and rambling. This art of avoidance is true to form, but it is not a reply, and it certainly isn't an indication of your willingness to engage in sadhu-sanga. Clearly, you only look upon Rtvik-ites as sadhus, and in your mind this justifies any trick when it comes to dealing with pesky unfaithful offenders. For example, you write, "why are you avoiding answering the question asked of you my Yasoda Nandan Prabhu?" I not only answered your question extensively in my papers, but answered again in an abbreviated form in my response to Sri Mukunda's email. And for the record, Yasoda nandan never even gave me the courtesy of a direct reply, although you describe him as being "appropriate and kind". I was under the illusion that Yasoda nandan was a spiritualist and a gentleman, but given his recent denial of the past promise he made to debate with me, and his unwillingness to address me directly and personally, I fear he has suffered on account of bad association. Such association is indicated in your “holier-than thou” email, which is reminiscent of other religionists, particularly the GBC and the Gaudiya Matha. I detest the condescending conceit so evident in your email. Pride is a predictable by-product of religiosity, especially disturbing when it is exploiting the glorious transcendental pastimes of the Sampradaya Acarya.

You are correct when you state that other preachers are frightened and annoyed - they are particularly annoyed when they observe that Srila Prabhupada’s actual Vaisnava teachings and siddhanta are being misrepresented by few dozen siddhantic re-writers pretentiously calling themselves His only sincere and faithful devotional servants. Your camp employs the technique of selectively cherry-picking your way through Srila Prabhupada’s teachings in search of quotes that can provide a scriptural veneer that will hide your imperfect theory. The ultimate conclusion of "The Final Order" is based upon the subjective interpretation of non-explicit, so-called "hard evidence". As such, it demands faith in the interpreter rather than reliance on the facts. Vaisnava siddhanta calls for us all to become faithful to Lord Sri Krsna, not Krishna Kant.

The mood of pure spirituality established by the succession of Sampradaya Acaryas has spiraled down yet again into a confusing cocktail of religious cults, of which the Hare Krishna Society is but one. Ironically, Yasoda nandan dasa is renowned for the rants and ravings he directs towards the GBC/Zonal pandits who exhibited an identical attitude towards him as you are now expressing in your email at me. In 1978, the GBC refused to honestly debate with Yasoda nandan on his objections to Zonal Acarya-ism. He was thrown out of the Society for the same reasons that I was ostracized and ejected from one of your Rtvik temples in Sedro Woolley. As a reminder, during that traumatic period in the late '70's, Yasoda nandan wasn’t advocating Rtvik ideology as an alternative to Zonal-ism, because it hadn't yet occurred to him that this was the 'clear and absolute' solution.

We are all disciples of Srila Prabhupada but unfortunately, we are all still conditioned souls. Krsna conscious culture entitles us to enjoy our own legitimate opinions and realizations on various disputed aspects of our philosophy, and permits us to be free from fear when expressing those realizations. Your Rtvik camp proclaims that they alone have an absolute monopoly on the truth, and this mood transforms once sweet devotee friends into hate-filled, bigoted fanatics. We are witnessing the sickening symptoms of mundane religiosity.

After reading the two “official” emails from the Hare Krishna Society, it is obvious that you have decided that the best approach to dealing with me is to fall back on age-old political techniques. You accuse me of being rambling and inconclusive, then you repeat the same tired question, already asked and answered. Rather than speak to my stated position, you falsely accuse me of not answering.

Your modus operandi is crystal clear: you fear my challenges will publicly expose the wealth of weaknesses in your philosophical position. You understand that there is no political advantage in debating me, because I’m presently not playing a major part in the Guru war. This is symptomatic of institutionalized religion, wherein the first priority is always the group’s survival and success, which eclipses making spiritual principles of fairness, personalism and compassion for another sincere follower of Srila Prabhupada secondary and unnecessary.

You have clearly stated that you think I should be ignored. By your remarks it is obvious that you can’t hear or see anything that doesn’t fit into your narrow perception of limited truth.

Your servant,

Rocana dasa