Clarifying Radhanath Swami's Preaching Strategies


Sep 12, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) — The following documents were produced by devotees in HH Radhanath Swami's camp. The articles (unedited) are in response to general criticisms and specifically, the comments of HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami.

This document addresses the accusation against Radhanath Swami by certain quarters that his preaching strategies are contrary to Srila Prabhupada's instructions – especially his presentation of Mayavadi leaders in his autobiography, The Journey Home and his establishing the Bhaktivedanta Hospital.

The Journey Home

The accusation is that in his autobiography Radhanath Swami talks appreciatively about several Mayavadi spiritual teachers, despite Srila Prabhupada's having spoken against them.

Preaching according to time and place: Gaudiya precedents

Radhanath Swami is actually following an authentic and honourable tradition of many of our past acharyas, who have set examples of preaching sensitively and intelligently according to desha-kalapatra, time-place-circumstances. This desh-kala dynamic in practicing and sharing at Krishna consciousness is a well-known Vedic principle and is substantiated twice in the Srimad Bhagavatam itself (desa-kala-vibhagavit: 1.9.9 and 4.8.54).

The history of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is filled with examples of our acharyas presenting the siddhanta dynamically according to time-place-circumstances: downplaying certain aspects, while highlighting certain others as is required for attracting people to Krishna's lotus feet. They have adjusted aspects of our philosophy for the dual purposes of:

  • Precluding rejection due to the prevailing intellectual ethos of their times and

  • Gaining acceptability and respectability for the essential core of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Here is a brief list of the prominent dynamic adaptations done by some of our eminent acharyas:

  1. Jiva Goswami, to address the moral sensibilities of the intellectuals of his times who considered the parakiya bhava immoral, showed, in his Durgama Sangamani commentary on the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and his Dig Darshini commentary on the Brahma Samhita, how the parakiya was actually svakiya: how the gopis were never married to anyone else and how they were eventually married to Krishna. Parakiya rasa is hardly a peripheral aspect of our siddhanta, but an authority no less than our siddhanta-acharya shows that even such a core principle can be temporarily and circumstantially downplayed if that is what is required to get people to appreciate and accept our philosophy.

  2. Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura in his Gita commentary, Sarartha Varshini, while substantiating his explanation of several Gita verses, quotes Madhusudan Saraswati, despite the fact that he was a well-known proponent of Advaita Vedanta, or, more precisely, because he was such a well-known proponent. By reading the full Sarartha Varshini, one would never come to know that there was anything wrong with Madhusudan Saraswati's philosophical orientation. So Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura's precedent shows that that a Vaishnava doesn't have to necessarily criticize Mayavadis in every forum.

  3. Baladeva Vidyabhushan, in order to show the Ramanandis how Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a bona fide paramapa, shows in his Govinda-bhashya a far greater connection between Gaudiya Vaishnavism and Madhvacharya's Dvaitavada than is normally presented, while downplaying the not-insignificant differences. Baladeva Vidyabhushan's later writings like his Gita Bhushan show very little of the Madhva connection, thus illustrating that certain philosophical differences can be downplayed for particular preaching purposes.

  4. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, to address the intellectual hostility of his times to unscientific-seeming cosmological and chronological statements in the Bhagavatam, downplays those parts of the Bhagavatam in his Krishna-Samhita (and even Datta Kaustubha, to some extent) so as to get his readers to the heart of the Bhagvatam: pure love between the Lord and his devotees.

  5. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, to tap the respect that pious Indians had for brahmanas and sannyasis, utilized brahmana-diksha and sannyasa-diksha, though his own father Bhaktivinoda Thakur had written against the suitability of sannyasa ashram and had publically burned his own sacred thread.

  6. Srila Prabhupada, to channelize the energies of his lady disciples for spreading Krishna consciousness, gave them brahmana-diksha and even allowed them to worship Deities outside India, although this was considered anathema by conservative Hindus and had not been done even by his own spiritual master.

Of course, there can be multiple nuances in what exactly these acharyas did and multiple interpretations of why they did it, but the undisputable fact is that they did do something that was unconventional or non-standard from orthodox Gaudiya standards in order to present Gaudiya Vaishnavism according to desha-kala-patra and thus attract people to its core.

Post-modernism: The Contemporary Intellectual Ethos

Radhanath Swami, in his Journey Home, carries on this tradition of preaching according to desha-kala-patra. The intellectual ethos of the times we reside in has been called post-modernism. In modern times (which are now considered outdated in the West), people had faith in reason and science, which they considered as reliable means to certain knowledge. In pre-modern times, people had faith in revelation and scripture, but that faith was damaged and destroyed by science which apparently showed certain mistakes in biblical scriptures. However, science's reign on human intellect didn't last long; the influential works of historians of science like Thomas Kuhn have shown how science is not objective and how scientific theories are formulated, popularized and accepted based on the prevailing cultural and intellectual biases. Consequently, people in today's post-modern times have faith neither in science nor in scripture as a reliable source of knowledge; in fact, they view with deep suspicion any source of knowledge that claims to be absolute. As post-modern people consider all claims to authority to be false, they are deeply averse to those spiritual teachers who criticize other teachers and other paths. They base their lives solely on experience, and so consider as authentic those teachers who speak based not on dogma but on experience. The enduring popularity of "Autobiography of a Yogi" is a testimony to this attraction to experiential spirituality. Many Mayavadis have popularized their philosophy by presenting it according to post-modern sensibilities, but practically no one had done the same for Gaudiya Vaishnavism. In fact, the post-modern attraction to experiential spirituality opens a great opportunity for us to share Krishna consciousness, because bhakti-yoga is experiential through-and-through; it gives direct perception of the self by realization (pratyakshavagamam, Bhagavad-gita 9.2). Acknowledging this experiential potency of bhakti, Sanatana Goswami enthrones experience as the highest of all pramanas (ways of acquiring knowledge).

Recognizing this hitherto untapped opportunity to share Krishna consciousness, Radhanath Swami took the initiative by penning down his own life's story in The Journey Home. He has skilfully and sensitively got around the post-modernist phobia to value judgments and exclusivist ideologies by not criticizing Mayavadis and has thus got thousands of post-modern people to appreciate the bhakti core of Krishna consciousness.

A question of essence: are we Mayavadi-criticizers or Krishna-lovers?

The Journey Home has received overwhelmingly positive responses from all over the world, but some quarters within ISKCON have alleged that in this book Radhanath Swami, by never criticizing Mayavadis, has deviated from Srila Prabhupada, who would often criticize Mayavadis. Let's consider this allegation systematically:

  1. Firstly, Radhanath Swami has not appreciated or even quoted the Mayavadi philosophy of the Mayavadi teachers whom he met. He has only quoted appreciatively their teaching about basic morality and spirituality, which are all compatible with the principles of Krishna consciousness. Radhanath Swami has unambiguously documented as the climax of his book the fact that he committed himself, not to any of the Mayavadis, but to Srila Prabhupada. And this ultimate choice of commitment will be a subtle, yet sufficient and significant direction-pointer for those of his post-modern readers who are themselves on a spiritual quest. The notion that "even quoting the name of Mayavadis without criticizing them is wrong" is deeply questionable; it would make Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura an offender for having quoted Madhusudan Saraswati without criticizing him.

  2. The idea that "one's faithfulness to Srila Prabhupada has to be judged by whether one criticizes those whom Prabhupada criticized" is itself questionable. Prabhupada regularly called scientists "fools and rascals", but he instructed and trained Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaj to be polite and courteous with scientists during his interactions with them. The litmus test of a Prabhupada-follower is not whether he criticizes those whom Prabhupada criticized, but whether he can get people to love the Lord whom Prabhupada wanted the world to love. After all, Prabhupada was first and foremost a Krishna-lover, not a Mayavadi-criticizer. And he preached primarily to inspire people to become Krishna-lovers – not just Mayavadi-criticizers. Radhanath Swami has, by his example and words and guidance, already inspired hundreds of devotees – his disciple and many other devotees too – all over the world on the path to becoming Krishna-lovers. Through his autobiographical account of how he himself became a Krishna-lover, he has thrown open the doorway to Krishna-bhakti to thousands, and, possibly, millions. By his dextrously avoiding criticism of Mayavadis, he has created appreciation for Srila Prabhupada among many spiritually inclined circles who had been alienated by what they saw to be ISKCON devotees' exclusivist fanaticism. And many people who would otherwise have never even considered taking up the process of Krishna consciousness have, by reading The Journey Home gone beyond appreciation to application: they have started practicing Krishna consciousness.

  3. Some people may argue that "a Krishna-lover has to show his love by being a Mayavadi-criticizer, because the greatest Krishna-lover, Srila Prabhupada. always criticized Mayavadis." However, the claim that "Srila Prabhupada always criticized Mayavadis" is debatable. Prabhupada himself chose preaching strategies intelligently according to what worked as per time-place-circumstances. During his talks with Allen Ginsberg, Srila Prabhupada directly criticized Swami Vivekanand when Ginsberg referred to him appreciatively. Ginsberg was shocked and thereafter could never commit himself to Prabhupada, though he did appreciate and assist him from a distance. Significantly, when Srila Prabhupada later met George Harrison and Harrison mentioned Swami Vivekanand, Paramhamsa Yogananda and Maharshi Mahesh Yogi appreciatively, Srila Prabhupada didn't speak anything directly to criticize them. And the result is there for the whole world to see: Srila Prabhupada succeeded in getting George Harrison to appreciate the core of Krishna consciousness, inspired him to write songs glorifying Krishna and thus, in one sense, spread the holy names to every town and village of the world; Harrison's songs like "My Sweet Lord" went all over the world and attracted thousands to Krishna's lotus feet. Thus, Srila Prabhupada himself used multiple preaching strategies at different times. So, rather than judging a Prabhupada-follower's faithfulness by checking whether he is sticking to a particular preaching strategy, what one needs to see is whether the preaching strategy chosen by that follower is within the circumference of the strategies that are compatible with Prabhupada's instructions – and, most importantly, with Prabhupada's purpose. The foregoing analysis shows that Radhanath Swami's preaching strategies are well within the perimeter of Prabhupda's instructions and that he has successfully served Prabhupada's purpose by bringing thousands of souls to Krishna's lotus feet.

The Bhaktivedanta Hospital

It is well-known among ISKCON devotees that Srila Prabhupada criticized Mayavadis for opening hospitals, by which they ended up doing material welfare work instead of spiritual welfare work. But what exactly was the focus of his criticism? Was it material welfare work per se? Is material welfare work intrinsically against the principles of Krishna consciousness? Unlikely. After all, the Srimad Bhagavatam glorifies the kings Shibi and Rantideva who sacrificed everything for the material welfare of their citizens – even subhuman citizens, at that. Moreover, Bhaktivinoda Thakura endorses material welfare work as an integral part of devotional culture. He writes in his Tattva-sutra:

"Those who think that devotion to God and kindness to the jivas [souls] are mutually different from each other, and perform accordingly in their life, such persons will not be able to follow the devotional culture. Their performances are only a semblance of devotion. Therefore, all the types of beneficence to others -- like kindness, friendliness, forgiveness, charity, respect, etc., are included in bhakti. Among these, according to the triple catagories of the recipients. viz., high, medium and low, the actions of respect, friendliness and kindness are the very form of love and the characteristic portion of bhakti: Charity of medicines, clothes, food, water, etc., shelter during adversities, teaching of academic and spiritual educations, etc., are the activities included in the devotional culture."

--Tattva Viveka-Tattva Sutra-Amnaya Sutra- A Comprehensive Exposition of the Spiritual Reality by Bhaktivinoda Thakur [Tattva Sutra portion (sutra 35)]. Sree Gaudiya Math, Madras. English translation by Narasimha Brahmacari. pp. 185-6.

Those who have studied modern Indian history will know the contextual origin of Srila Prabhupada's critique of social service. Many well-known Mayavadi teachers, in order to galvanize the Hindu masses to remedy the poverty that pervaded India, tried to portray social service as a substitute to devotional service – and a superior substitute at that. Thus they coined appealing but misleading slogans like Daridra Narayana seva (Service to the poverty-stricken Narayana) or Manava seva hi madhava seva hai (Service to man is itself service to God). These slogans threatened the very foundations of Vedic culture, for they engendered the dangerous misconception that devotional service was unnecessary; all that the world needed was social service. Sensing this great danger, our acharyas, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and Srila Prabhupada, responded strongly in two ways. At a philosophical level, they thoroughly refuted the non-scriptural, even anti-scriptural, equation of mundane social service with transcendental devotional service. At a practical level, they took great care to ensure that the spiritual organizations they had started did not get distracted into mundane welfare work.

Yukta-Vairagya: Why should medical science stay ayukta?

Radhanath Swami, as a present-day successor of these acharyas is very much aware of this danger. That's why when he started his community development project in Mumbai, he first and foremost focussed on establishing a vibrant spiritual culture centred on the core activities of hearing, chanting and Deity Worship. Over the years as the devotional culture took deep roots, he decided to expand its branches further by an innovative application of the philosophical principle of yukta-vairagya

The principles of yukta-vairagya and phalgu-vairagya are explained by Rupa Goswami in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.255-56): "When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts anything in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krishna is not as complete in his renunciation." Srila Prabhupada envisioned the application of this principle in the realm of science and technology: the same science that had caused many to lose faith in God could be used to prove God's existence; the same technology that had allured many into newer and newer ways of forgetting God could be used to help people remember Krishna in state-of-the-art ways.

Radhanath Swami envisioned a further application of yukta-vairagya in the realm of humanitarian compassion: the same medical science that treats people's bodies also opens opportunities to treat their souls. When patients in distress and need are treated with competence and care by devotee-doctors in a devotionally surcharged atmosphere, they become inspired to adopt the spiritual culture that has secretly acted on their hearts during the period when the medicine was acting on their bodies.

It is undeniably true that any application of yukta-vairagya is fraught with danger; one may get too entangled in the material part and neglect the spiritual part. That could possibly happen even at Bhaktivedanta Hospital, but there is no evidence that it is happening. In fact, there is abundant evidence that the opposite is happening. Far from the devotee-doctors losing their devotional purpose and perspective, non-devotee patients are becoming surcharged with Krishna consciousness. Every year, hundreds of patients get devotionally charmed by the soothing spiritual atmosphere of the hospital and the loving concern of the devotee-doctors. They come to the hospital to treat their body; they go back with treatment for both their body and their soul. All the important Vaishnava festivals are celebrated at the hospital with great devotional fervour, and the devotional energy during these festivals is as palpable in the hospital as in the best ISKCON temples.

Initially, many ISKCON leaders had expressed concern and even apprehension when Radhanath Swami had embarked on the hospital project. But when they saw for themselves how it was so devotional in its core and how it was so pregnant in its potential to attract people to Krishna, they have subsequently changed their opinions completely and have become often vocal supporters and even proponents of the project.

Similarly, whatever other humanitarian projects that Radhanath Swami has inspired – be they the Mid-day Meal or the Barsana eye camp, he has repeatedly and pointedly driven home the devotional purpose and essence of these projects. The leaders of these projects have no illusions about what they are doing: they don't identify themselves as social workers trying to make this world a better place; they see themselves as devotees dovetailing their worldly professions in Krishna's service in such a way that they can create at least ajnata-sukriti (unknowing spiritual credits) among people who would otherwise never have come in contact with Krishna.

Dilution and populism?

Ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Or in Vedic parlance: phalena parichayate (a tree is known by its fruit). The Radha-Gopinath temple community that Radhanath Swami has developed has become one of the greatest success stories of ISKCON in the post-Prabhupada era. Despite being a project that was born after the departure of Srila Prabhupada, its outreach has surpassed that of many older projects. Every Sunday, more than a thousand devotees come to the temple for a program of pure Krishna consciousness: hearing, chanting, dancing, darshan and prasad. This Sunday feast program turnout is more than that of any other ISKCON temple in the whole world. Every year Radhanath Swami leads spiritually energizing yatras, where thousands of people get the opportunity to practice all the five potent forms of devotional service mentioned in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindu: hearing Bhagavatam, chanting the holy names, worshiping the Deities, associating with devotees and visiting holy places.

Have Radhanath Swami's preaching strategies diluted this core devotional program? Not at all. It was his foresight that led to the establishment of this program in the first place. And with the same foresight he has come up with bold preaching strategies that have only strengthened this core devotional program; rather than devotees leaving core devotional activities to get involved in humanitarian work, many people are allured by the humanitarian work to the devotional culture and then they realize that spreading this devotional culture is the greatest humanitarian work.

In doing these adjustments, is Radananth Swami being populist: watering down standards to gain popularity? Radhanath Swami himself practices the core principles of Krishna consciousness – strong sadhana – strictly, and he inspires and instructs his disciples to do the same, as is evident from the vibrant morning programs in all the temples inspired by him. He ensures that his aspiring disciples develop an above-average commitment to these core practices by making them wait for a long time to receive initiation – often much longer than his critics. In his outreach Radhanath Swami is undoubtedly extending his arms far to reach many people whom ISKCON has never reached before. However, in doing so, he is not stooping down to their standards; rather he is raising them – slowly but steadily – to the high standards that Prabhupada taught.

In the past, those acharyas who have understood and carried forward the spirit of our paramapara have gone on to make history, whereas those who have stuck to the letter and criticized those who were carrying on the spirit have been reduced to a mere footnote in even Gaudiya history. A sad example of this is Bimala Prasad Thakura (with all due respects to him), who, despite being personally initiated by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, couldn't appreciate Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura's adjustments like the re-institution of the sannyasa ashram and the adoption of the Bhagavata parampara.

Similarly, the critics of Radhanath Swami's Journey Home , even if they are well-intentioned, are ill-informed both in terms of the dynamics of how our past acharyas have preached and also in terms of the requirements for cutting-edge preaching in the contemporary intellectual landscape. Simply put, such critics have chosen to be on the wrong side of history. If we don't want to get caught on that wrong side of history, it is advisable to neglect them and carry on with our own practice and preaching of Krishna consciousness.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, without minding the criticism, went on to spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism all over the world, and thus ensured that all of us received Krishna consciousness. Just as we today feel grateful to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura for his foresight and courage in devising the necessary preaching strategies, future generations will be grateful to Radhanath Swami for his foresight and courage in doing whatever was necessary to bring Krishna into their lives.

and, by so doing, they were successful in attracting people to the core of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and to pass on that core over the generations so that we too are able to receive and relish it today.

Radhanath Swami maintains the devotional focus of his community of devotees by keeing the Deities and the hearing and chanestablishing an empowering devotional culture at the Radha-Gopinath temple. Every week, more than a thousand people come to the temple for the sunday program.

Your Holiness' accusations against BHAKTIVEDANTA HOSPITAL
& response to it in principle

I see that all arguments can be summed up as a tussle between YUKTA VAIRAGYA vs SOCIAL SERVICE


Sadhus in saffron work as Doctors

Only grihastas (like Murari Gupta in Lord CM's times) work here, who would otherwise be employed in karmi hospitals with nondevotional atmosphere


At Pune, it is situated inside their temple campus, as it is a mainstream activity ; thus donations

Situated far away from Chowpatty temple and exists as a separate entity, financially (LIONS & ROTARY etc) and managerially from the ISKCON, temple


Goal is to cure poor patients cheaply/freely to relieve people of suffering as a social service

Goal is Holistic care with spiritual care as highlight;

Vaisnava Dharma prachar
- SP LECTURES & KIRTANS playing in lobby 24 hrs a day
- Over 24 weekly preaching programs to reach out KC
- has a Temple that celebrates vaisnava FESTIVALS
- 3 times daily SIKSASTAKAM by hospital staff & patients
- PICTURES of Krishna everywhere
- All food served is only PRASADAM
- Jagannath Temple darshan to patients daily on wheels

Vaishnava Seva - health care of Vaisnavas in a devotional setting

Varnasrama {BG 9.27 12.10, 18.45-46} - everybody cannot ‘shave up' and join temple fulltime
- grihasta doctors get chance to keep themselves KC unlike in a situation where they have to work in karmi hospitals
- as High court judges, Company owners can Krishnaise their place, similarly devotee doctors have come together to preserve their own KC & to propagate KC to their best.


Propagate bogus philosophy :

‘Manava seva' is ‘Madhava seva'

Spiritual care trains patients : ‘Madhava seva' can raise us above this world of ‘dukhalayam asasvatam'


Mundane Social service

Yukta vairagya principle - dovetailing professional Medical talent to powerfully propagate KC to thousands of visitors, guests and families


Promote Ramakrishna paramahamsa as ‘Thakur' or God and mislead masses

Present KC philosophy with Krishna as SPOG, the center of all our life and work & distribute SP's books


Output : materially cured, spiritually diseased, with no awakening

Output : Materially cured, Spiritually awakened, heart full with good wishes for ISKCON, SP & taking up to KC in terms of chanting & becoming devotee


- Consider Lord Narayana has become beggar.

- Goal is to fill up belly as a social service

- Propagate bogus philosophy : 'Jana seva' is 'Janardhan seva'

- Children eat only ordinary food and continue Karmic reactions.

- Children are grateful to the donors of food, who are just millionaires.

- Donations collected from their main followers.


- Done to distribute Krishna Prasad.

- Goal is to purify hearts of children thru Krishna's mercy as prasad.

- When ISKCON earns goodwill, parents, teachers, principals, politicians develop inquisitiveness to know more & visit our temples & become devotees.

- Children eat Krishna prasadam and know that HARE KRISHNA DEVOTEES or ISKCON is sending us this Krishna prasadam. By calling 'Hare Krishna' when prasadam comes, children progress in KC.

- Children visit ISKCON temple in groups with their teachers on different occasions and some of them are likely to become fully devoted to ISKCON.

- Donations not sought from ISKCON congregation, but from nondevotee wellwishers; no table or exhibit display at temple for fund raising.

- As Lord Krishna says in BG 12.10, the nondevotee employees get chance to serve Krishna indirectly by working for Him. And devotees who work for the midday meal are very few and they are very well aware that they've to raise their consciousness from BG12.10 to 12.9, not go from BG 12.10 to 12.11. Thus just as doctors like HG Dwarakadish p delight in KC more than medical service, similarly HG Radhakrishna p and other devotees delight in KC more than social food distribution service.

Your Holiness' accusations against JOURNEY HOME
& response to it in principle

Srila Prabhupada friendly dealings with Mayavadis in Preaching :

1) Following is an example of SP dealing with Mayavadis politely, even exchanging fruits and waking up from bed despite sickness to offer warm send off.

‘Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta' - Vol 3, SPL 25 ‘Our Master has not finished his work'

Suddenly one morning, Swami Satcidananda, the famous haöha-yoga guru, entered Prabhupäda's room, grinning through his big gray beard. He was dressed in a saffron silk kurtä and yogé pants and accompanied by one of his young American male disciples. Çréla Prabhupäda sat up in bed, smiling at the pleasant surprise. They had not met before. Çréla Prabhupäda offered Swami Satcidananda a seat at his bedside and asked Jaduräëé to stand and give her seat to Swami Satcidananda's disciple….

When Prabhupäda offered to play the record he and his disciples had made, Swami Satcidananda politely agreed. But when Prabhupäda offered to play the other side of the record, Swami Satcidananda said he had to leave. He offered Prabhupäda some fruits, and Prabhupäda, after accepting them, told his disciples, "Distribute these, and give him some of our fruit in exchange."

As Swami Satcidananda rose to leave, Çréla Prabhupäda suddenly got out of bed and stood shakily. "No, no, no." Swami Satcidananda protested. "Don't disturb yourself." And then he was gone, escorted by Acyutänanda. Çréla Prabhupäda lay back in bed. "Is he a swami?" Jaduräëé asked. "Why not?" Prabhupäda replied. But after a few moments he added, "Swami means one who knows Kåñëa." There was no more talk about it, but Prabhupäda was pleased by the unexpected visit.

2) SP quotes a mayavadi Akhandanandaji speaker gracefully on the ‘sadhu samaj' stage program below


Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol : 4, SPL 32 : ‘India – Dancing white elephants'

The problem is, as this evening's speaker, His Holiness Swami Akhaëòänandajé spoke to you, how we can make everyone accustomed to take up good habits-sad-äcära? I think in this age, Kali-yuga, there are many faults."

3) SP went with some of his neophyte disciples like Bruce, Keith, Wally and Howard to Anand ashram (who discuss and seems to get confused), when he was invited by his Mayavadi friend, Dr.Misra, with the hope to give some KC to them. You'll see the highlighted portion below, where SP watched a slideshow of Anand asram.

Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol : 2, SPL 19 : Planting the seed

Bruce was a newcomer and had only been to one week of meetings at the storefront, so no one had told him that the members of Ananda Ashram, Dr. Mishra's yoga retreat, had invited Swamiji and his followers for a day in the upstate countryside.

Afterward, Keith, Wally, and Howard wandered into the meditation room. There was a seat with a picture of Dr. Mishra, who was away in Europe. But the most remarkable thing was a blinking strobe light. "I feel like I'm in a head shop on St. Mark's Place," said Wally. "What kind of spiritual meditation is this?" Howard asked. A Mishra follower, wearing a white kurtä and white bell-bottoms, replied that their guru had said they could sit and meditate on this light. "Swamiji says you should meditate on Kåñëa," said Keith……….

After sunset, everyone gathered in the large room of the main building to watch a slide show. It was a loose collection, mostly of assorted slides of India and the Ananda Ashram. A record by a popular Indian sitarist was playing in the background. Some of the slides were of Viñëu temples, and when one slide passed by quickly, Prabhupäda asked, "Let me see that. Can you go back and let me see that temple again?" This happened several times when he recognized familiar temples in India………..

Prabhupäda settled back into his Second Avenue apartment, feeling pleased with the visit to Ananda Ashram. The kértana had been successful, and one of Dr. Mishra's foremost students had commented that he was impressed by Prabhupäda's followers: simply by chanting they seemed to be achieving an advanced level of yoga discipline, whereas "we have more difficulty with all our postures and breath control."

4) SP did not appreciate devotees even criticizing hypocritical Indians by giving FLY & BEE example

Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol : 4, SPL 32 : ‘India – Dancing white elephants'

Sometimes the devotees criticized certain of Prabhupäda's visitors. They met Indians who sat with Prabhupäda and presented a facade of godliness but who later smoked cigarettes and showed other signs of low character. Once a group of devotees complained to Prabhupäda about these hypocritical Indians, but Prabhupäda told them the story of the bee and the fly. The bee, he explained, always looks for honey, and the fly for a nasty sore or infection. The devotee should be like the honeybee and see the good in others, not like the fly, looking for the faults.

5) SP quotes Dr.Radhakrishnan below favorably; yet in another place condemns his mayavada comment.

Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol : 1, ‘A Lifetime in Preparation', SPL 5 : The War

And finally he quoted Sir Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: This war, when it would be won, would prove to be the breeding ground of other wars if the peace was not saved. It could happen only if powerful nations ceased to take pride and glory in their possessions which were based on labour and tribute of other weaker nations. This perhaps was what Sir Harcourt Butler meant when he said that the principles of Hinduism contained the essential elements for the saving of world civilisations. And in another quote from Dr. Radhakrishnan, Abhay offered a statement he also used as one of the mottoes of the magazine: We have to defeat tyranny in the realm of thought and create a will for world peace. Instruments for training the mind and educating human nature should be used to develope a proper social outlook without which institutional machinery was of little use. Abhay expressed his confidence that the spiritual resources of India could be used by everyone, not only to enhance the glory of India but to benefit the whole world.

Bold vs Sensitive Approach in Preaching

Boldness is all about Exposing and exploding illusion, calling a spade a spade. (example) Vidura smashed illusion of Dhrtarashtra boldly, since he had already invested enough in him.

Sensitivity is about reaching the heart through a friendly approach with lienency in the beginning. (example) Lord Caitanya dealing with Sarvabhauma bhattacarya and Prakashananda saraswati He won their hearts through humility first and philosophy next.

Goodside of Boldness
Badside of Boldness

Philosophy put in clear perspective

Inability to see other perspectives


We can call a spade a spade

Too quick to criticize all and we lose good will


Uncompromising Vision for our movement

Uncompromising/Inflexibility leads to stagnancy


Orthodox adherence to letter of law

Spirit of law becomes forgotten


Singular opinion without flexibility

Fanaticism and Rigidity brings opinions poles apart


Presentation of Truth/skepticism without fear

Vaisnava aparadh

Goodside of Sensitivity
Badside of Sensitivity

Can make KC available for all thru adaptability according to time, place and circumstance

Extreme Adaptability without knowing one's limits imposed by parampara can be dangerous


Can have interfaith dialogue with different religious groups without hurting them

Mild presentation without distinguishing one's own parampara truth may lead to ‘be good; do good'


Can have loyalty to SP while being broadminded to be friendly with all

If Loyalty to SP is not greater than one's broadmindedness with others, then it is deviation.


Adherence to the spirit of the law

Spirit itself should not be compromised along with the letter of the law


Can preach to the Heart, with feelings

In the name of sensitivity, one may tolerate diluted philosophies and substandard truths


Can strike relation with anyone in any part of the world and give KC in a palatable way

One may lose one's identity as a Gaudiya vaisnava without sticking to one's own stand of KC.

We can show from ‘Journey Home' by HH Radhanath swami that………..

1) He establishes Krishna as SPOG and Mahamantra in appro 258 pages.

2) He glorifies Srila Prabhupada and his surrender to Prabhupada in approx. 100 pages

3) for every copy of ‘Journey Home' nearly 13 copies of Srila Prabhupada's books were distributed.

4) teaches the importance of Four regulative principles through practical heart touching stories

5) chooses to expose faults in the character or practice of different spiritual leaders, sometimes through expressing serious doubts about their validity and sometimes more directly.

6) he presents from these different teachers only the teachings which are consistent with Gaudiya siddhanta

While HH Radhanath swami takes a SENSITIVE APPROACH, suitable for POST MODERN YOUTH OF AMERICA and INDIA, Your Holiness DEMANDS that he take a BOLD COURAGEOUS APPROACH involving LOGIC & REASON without paying attention to hearts of people. Thus the tussle that has come about in these discussions is one of Boldness vs Sensitivity. Hare Krishna.

With my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of all vaishnavas with my sincere prayer that in the course of rendering this service, whatever offenses I have unknowingly committed, let them kindly be forgiven by your mercy. Hare Krishna.

Your servant


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