sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 8, Special Edition Dedicated to Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Posted: 29 December 2015
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Inspired by and under the guidance of
sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 8, Special Edition
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Opposing Dharma as a Business
by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
[The following letter was sent to Śrī Madhusūdana Gosvāmī Sarvabhauma Mahāṣaya of Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma]
Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅgau Jayataḥ
Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Kolkata;
15 January, 1927
A request, along with an offering of profuse honour, to an ācārya –
Yesterday I left Śrī Caitanya Maṭha in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma and reached here, Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Kolkata. I sent you a letter from Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, and I understand that you have received the same.
* * *
If ‘dharma’ means nothing but sense gratification, as is the opinion of the pseudo-devotees, does that mean the true meaning of dharma – pure devotional service (śuddha-bhakti) – will no longer be preached in places like Śrī Vṛndāvana? Shall all the deities of Śrī Vṛndāvana remain mere commodities in the hands of those who use Them in family run deity businesses?
These unlawful* tradesmen, having accepted the profession of merchants, are simply engaged in the business of distributing mantras and in fulfilling their own vested interests in the name of serving the deities. Shall such activities be recognized as the meaning of ‘dharma’? Would it not be more appropriate for the present residents of Vṛndāvana to cultivate the intention of helping the whole world achieve true transcendental welfare through the message of śuddha-bhakti?
* Engaging in business using deities as commodities is being referred to here as unlawful.
Śuddha-bhaktas (pure devotees) will never approve the pseudo-bhakti of these tradesmen. This is the age of Kali. The path of śuddha-bhakti has become obstructed by millions of thorn-like obstacles. Presently, there is no solution other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Maṭha,* but the misguided people of this world are unable to understand this. If you could publicise my message in Hindi and in the local language of Vraja, and propogate it in the form of pamphlets etc, then, in my understanding, it would be an act of compassion toward a great many people.
* At the time this letter was written, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Maṭha was the international hub for the association of śuddha-bhaktas who one-pointedly follow the life and precepts of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanyadeva, and who were therefore fully absorbed in serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Hence, it was not meant to refer to an institution, but rather the principle of association with śuddha-bhaktas.
Service to the deities (who are directly the Supreme Lord) is not a commodity, and the servants of the Lord are not merchants; they are Vaiṣṇavas, bhaktas of Bhagavān. Having renounced all material things, they perform service to Śrī Hari through the medium of hari-kīrtana for the benefit of themselves and the whole world. Businessmen normally deal in rice, paddy and so on; but these unlawful tradesmen have used the pretence of serving the deities to turn the deities’ home, a temple made of stone, into their object of trade.
With the help of these transcendental objects, these tradesmen engage in business and earn their livelihood. They buy temples for the deities; they hire unqualified people to serve the deities, thus causing them to commit offences while executing devotional service (seva-aparādha); they pretentiously take initiation from unqualified, so-called gurus in order to receive various mantras and questionable teachings about bhajana; and who knows what else they do. The community of śuddha-bhaktas has no faith or trust that any of these activities have any benefit.
The community of pure devotees will never give up pure bhajana to engage instead in fashionable or socially acceptable activities. Simplicity of heart is true dharma, and yet in this world, this truth has been discarded, and our conception of dharma has now become shear duplicity. The authentic bhaktas of Śrī Gaura realize it is their duty to express to the world the intrinsic nature (svarūpa-lakṣana) of the Supreme Lord. Knowledge of that truth completely rids the world of deceit, and thereby delivers everyone from the clutches of pseudo Vaiṣṇavism.
It is my request that for the rest of your life all of your remaining endeavours be for the sake of the realm of śuddha-bhakti, and that your activities may become the object of gratefulness for the whole Vaiṣṇava community. The book ‘Vaiṣṇavism – Real and Apparent’ is currently being circulated. It is now necessary to bring real welfare to the so-called, pseudo Vaiṣṇava community. You are a qualified person. You can accomplish this task. The duplicitous activities in Bengal have, to a large extent, been exposed. So now it is essential to destroy the pretentious forms of religion wherever they are being practiced, throughout the entire country.
Servant of the devotees of Śrī Hari,
Śrī Siddhānta Sarasvatī.
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Patrāvalī