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My Brief History with Narayana Maharaja

Madhava - Thu, 09 Sep 2004 03:16:11 +0530
A fellow member wrote me, asking about my history of leaving the group and association of B.V. Narayan Maharaja. I thought I'd share it here, in case some of you might find something of interest therein. If some of you do not find this savory, I apologize. It is educational, if nothing else.

Basically, I'll just start from the beginning of the disillusionment.

We were traveling, like any good bunch of guru-groupies, around after Narayan Maharaja all over Europe. It was in Holland as he gave the infamous "Boycott the Sahajiya Babajis" class they broadcast all over the cyberspace. Having heard that, I figured that as a faithful and dutiful disciple I should get to the bottom of the issue in order to defend the vicAra of my guru whenever I might be confronted with the sahajiyAs.

Narayan Maharaja advised us to explore his Prabandha-pancakam for further information on his boycott campaign. So, I began to study the text, and I would study the details of the arguments to be on a solid ground, should I try to prove some of the points. But alas, it wasn't quite as solid as I'd hoped for, as you no doubt have seen in my series of notes on the title. At this time, I also contacted some of the "anti-party" folks, the mean sahajiyAs that is, to hear their side of the story, and got hold of some of those dreaded sahajiyA books.

So, all of this prompted me to start asking questions. At that time, most of our congregation had gone to Vraja for Kartika time. We couldn't afford to go, as we were flat broke due to arranging programs and what not. So, I decided to write a letter inquiring into some of the issues, such as the paramparA-topic, the rAgAnuga-topic, Narayan Maharaja's plagiarizing the sahajiyAs' writings, and Bhaktisiddhanta's initiation.

However, contrary to my expectations, I did not receive a prompt response from my guru, which would, I had hoped, clarify the subject matter. Granted, at that time I had become a bit sceptical, but there was a good spark of hope there nevertheless for the resolution of the matter. Instead, the letter was shown around to our congregation, and they were warned to not associate with us, as we had become bewildered and thus bad association. The letter was circulated among some other devotees there, too, although it was a private letter.

In due course of time, Aranya Maharaja, one of the young and enthusiastic sannyAsins whom I had come to know rather well, wrote me a letter of selected fire and brimstone, essentially trying to make me feel guilty for inquiring into the matter, digging up every other defect I might have as the real reason for my doubts. Narayan Maharaja's secretary, Brajanath, pointed out in a letter how the problem was not with the issues at hand, but rather in the fact that I had allowed such a doubt to enter my mind. All the while, I did not hear from the one person I had hoped to hear from, the person at the root of these doubts -- Narayan Maharaja himself.

In the matter of paramparA, I would like to cite from the letter of a rather fiery senior lady from the saGga on the matter of paramparA, after my pointing out that many of the so-called sahajiyA-bAbAjIs do chant a commendable quantity of harinAma. I feel it adequately reflects the exclusive attitude of this group.

"It certainly is not an ordinary thing if someone is chanting 3 lakhs daily. How many people can do this? But if one does not have the proper connection to the bona fide guru-parampara, then how far can that chanting take you?"

Eventually, then, as I grew impatient and inquired into why I could not get a direct response from my guru, but instead kept hearing from all the middle-men, I received from him a short note of heartly blessings inviting me to come over to Vrindavan to discuss the matter in person. I expressed my regrets for not being able to comply, as I had about ten bucks in my pocket at the moment, suggesting that it should be possible to resolve the matter in writing, since the original content causing the doubts, namely the title Prabandha Pancakam, was also put forth in writing to address such matters. I also expressed my hesitation over the fact that I felt uneasy being in a situation in which people would expect me to accept the guru's answer, whatever it might have been, or otherwise be repudiated as an offender and so forth, and that I would therefore rather take care of the matter via letters. This was interpreted as my declaration of insubordination, and I was blamed for the arrogance of suggesting to my guru how the matter should be resolved.

As our congregation returned from Vraja, I was wondering how people might react to the rather tense situation. For one month I waited, until one person called me and briefly discussed the situation, saying that he understood me. That was the end of the story. Prior to that, we had been more or less the driving force of the saGga here, I would daily give class, we would organize programs and festivals, coordinate translation and so forth. However, we had evidently become so dangerous now that people could not even correspond with us. One young lady replied to my wife's letter that she apologized but she cannot read her letters because she is concerned over losing her faith. My wife had written to inquire whether she would come to pick up her socks and stuff from our place, as she had prior to that frequently spent time at our place. At any rate, that was the reaction.

I do not know if I was more dismayed by the original doubts or the fact that we were treated in such a way. In fact, the response we received told me much more about the situation than the lack of response from Narayan Maharaja. At any rate, I thought of giving it the one last shot, I thought that I could perhaps call Maharaja, as that would be a more personal medium of communication. However, I came to learn that Maharaja's secretary wanted to "discuss" with me before he would let me talk to Maharaja. He wanted to ensure that I have the proper attitude, that I would be willing to accept whatever answers Maharaja would give without questioning anything he said. It puzzled me, since had I been in such a state of mind, I would not have had doubts to begin with. The mood was well summarized in a letter I received from one of these middle-men (or ladies):

"I sincerely hope that you and your wife will be allowed to wake up and come out of your illusion. Gurudeva already gave you all the correct answers to your questions, but you never accepted. Therefore you looked elsewhere."

Anyhow, I frankly explained in a letter to Maharaja that this was my situation, that I could not give up doubting and I would need coherent and reasonable answers to my questions, and that I could not take it on mere blind faith. Neverheless, I noted, if they would be willing to give this a shot, I would be willing to call at whatever time would suit Maharaja. Adding, that if this would be all right, perhaps they would inform me of an appropriate time and give me the phone number, and that if it wouldn't, then perhaps Gurudeva would like to give me some instructions on how to proceed with my spiritual life under the circumstances. I added that I would really like to hear the response personally from my guru, and not someone speaking on his behalf. The response I received from his secretary read as follows:

"Srila Gurudeva says that you should go at once to the Babajis. He said that when you came to him you were in ignorance and even though he has tried to help you, you have not changed. Now you have no belief in him and discover so many faults. Since you have so much regard for Babajis, better you go there at once. Please do not bother to waste your time writing, I will no longer answer."

Naturally I nevertheless bothered to answer, thanking Maharaja for all the guidance he had given me, regretting that our ways had to part under such circumstances. True to their word, no response was given the letter.

A letter from this one senior lady, cited earlier, sums up the gist of what people there thought of the situation.

"I can understand from reading your letter to Gurudeva why he refused to speak with you on the phone. You are not approaching him in a humble submissive manner and it is obvious that you are not in the mood of accepting whatever he might say to you, so why should he waste his time?"

"You had the fortune to come to the shelter of a bona fide representative of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Goswami. You have rejected him. What will be your fate? Actually, the babajis are the agent of Kali, sent here to test those weak-hearted bhaktas who don't have enough sukriti or humility to receive vraja-bhakti."

Reflecting on the situation during the months to follow, I came to reject Narayan Maharaja as a vaiSNava-vidveSin due to his repeated slander and campaigning to propagate misinformation of sincere bhajanAnandIs, apparently for the purpose of establishing himself as the legitimate rasika-AcArya who had come to open the flow of vraja-bhAva once again, and likely to also cover his own tracks.

You all know where the path led me after this interesting and educational curve.

So that's basically the story.
DharmaChakra - Thu, 04 Nov 2004 03:29:13 +0530

Any objection to hijacking this thread to allow other members to post their own 'My Story'? I'd really like to hear from the members here with the kind of honesty & disclosure that Madhava-ji has been strong enough to post here.

I also think that Srivas Angan has hit the kind of critical mass where we can get some really interesting stories out of people biggrin.gif
Madhava - Thu, 04 Nov 2004 03:32:04 +0530
By all means, please do post your stories! I apologize for the focus of what I wrote, it was by no means intended as an exhaustive overview of what I've been up to, but was written to address this one particular period of time.