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The Origin of the Jiva, Controversy

“Setting The Scene”

Part 3

The above letter sets the stage.  We want our readers to note some of the salient features of this letter. 

One thing is the confidence of the author.  The reader is lead to believe that he has the final conclusion on this matter.  His tone of confidence alone is enough to intimidate the average reader who will then be overwhelmed by the “facts” that he presents by way of analysis and so on in his book.  Nevertheless, we maintain that after reading just a few chapters of this book, our readers will agree that the confidence exhibited by our accuser is unfounded.  Indeed, his confidence will be found to be along the lines of what Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes in Madhurya Kadambini as false confidence:

A brahmana child, having just begun the study of the scriptures, thinks he has become immediately a learned scholar worthy of everyone’s praise.  Similarly, a person just beginning devotional service may have the audacity to think that he has mastered everything.  This is called utsaha-mayi, filled (puffed-up) with enthusiasm.

Another thing worthy of note, is the way in which the author of the above letter, has cleverly wrapped himself in the name of Srila Prabhupada, so that to disagree with him, is to prove oneself a “Prabhupada killer”, and to remain silent is a virtual admission of guilt.  Thus, the only way to prove one’s loyalty to Srila Prabhupada, is to agree with him.  His approach, is to cut off all possibility of a dialogue over a philosophical difference of opinion.  In fact, the writer seeks no dialogue.  He knows all the answers, and though we may have a different opinion, he is not the least bit interested, to know how or why, we hold such an opinion.  Even if he was right about the jiva issue, we wonder if his approach was the way to handle the matter, what to speak of the fact that he is wrong? 

(Comment: I have always held the notion, that “Everyone Has the Right to Be Wrong.”)

We hope our readers will appreciate, by the end of this book, how important it is to see through the sort of unjust tactic our accuser has employed; otherwise, much harm can be inflicted on our community by those who lack the integrity to deal justly with such differences of opinion. 

Unless we learn to discriminate in such matters, the devotee community will always be victims of those willing to resort to such conduct—seeking to create a state of panic and prejudice, by whipping devotees into an emotional state in the name of Srila Prabhupada.  His singular purpose is to destroy all credibility of the accused.  Indeed, in the eyes of those swayed by this writer’s rhetoric, for us to make any utterance in our defense will only appear to confirm their worse suspicions. 

Despite the risk to us, however, we feel obliged to respond to the charges against us, not so much for the sake of saving face, but for preserving the parampara siddhanta and preserving Srila Prabhupada’s place in the disciplic succession. 

Otherwise, as will be shown in the course of this book, to accept Drutakarma Dasa’s understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on the origin of the jiva, is to remove him from being a link in the chain of disciplic succession. 

We find no evidence anywhere in Prabhupada’s life or teachings that he wanted to be seen as anything but standing shoulder to shoulder with the disciplic succession. 

The fall-vada theory (that the spirit soul falls from Vaikuntha) does, however, isolate him from the parampara.  This is entirely unacceptable to us. 

Besides that, there are many other unsavory implications of the fall-vada theory, which we reveal and refute in the course of the book.

Before closing, we think it is important to briefly outline the background of our working relation with the BBT.

 In March 1992, we began on our own, translating and commenting on the Sat-sandarbhas.  In late May of the same year, we were asked to do the work for the BBTI.  The condition was that we would agree to working with the BBTI’s English and Sanskrit editors, Dravida Dasa and Gopiparanadhana Dasa respectively.  We agreed. 

In the next two years we encountered a number of problems, none of which were of our own making.  In every instance, we showed ourselves to be flexible and solution-oriented, and were able to come to satisfactory compromises between us, and our two editors, and the BBTI Trustees. 

We proposed a policy, that in such circumstances, where there was a real or apparent difference of opinion, between Srila Prabhupada and the author of the work being translated, we would state both views, and if possible, reconcile them.  This met with solid approval from the BBTI Trustees.  In the specific case of the jiva issue, we knew that Prabhupada said both things—that we fell from Vaikuntha and that no one falls from Vaikuntha—and were quite pleased to follow in his footsteps and say both things.  Our work was progressing.  The Tattva-sandarbha was completed and scheduled for the printer.  While it was in production in Sweden, we were working on Bhagavat-sandarbha. 

Now the whole BBTI project, to bring to the devotees worldwide, the greatest philosophical work in our line, has stopped. 

We think that the devotee community should know that this is a direct result of Drutakarma Dasa’s method of expressing his concern that Srila Prabhupada’s teachings are being “relativized by word-juggling Sanskrit experts.” 

In reality the Tattva-sandarbha met the approval of both BBTI editors, Dravida prabhu and Gopiparanadhana prabhu, solid BBTI men for the last 20 years. 

Not only did the entire Sandarbha translation project grind to a stop, but the BBTI project to construct a facility in Vrinavana for translation work was also stopped.  All of this stoppage, even if reversed, was done at great expense, and inconvenience to the society.  At the time of this writing, the fate of these services to Srila Prabhupada is still uncertain.  In this instance, a great disservice was done to the society of devotees, to Srila Prabhupada, and to our predecessor acaryas, for, as will be shown, our accuser is completely mistaken

Indeed, we hope that this book proves the value of studying the writings of our previous acaryas for properly understanding the philosophy.  Srila Prabhupada said he gave us the framework, and it is up to us to fill in the details.  With respect to the siddhanta of our parampara, we show in this book that there is no better approach than to draw on the works of our acaryas. 

Our fervent hope is that whatever lessons can be extracted from this event, will be helpful to avoid such disasters to our society in the future.  Unless we learn from these experiences, then, as conventional wisdom has it, history will be doomed to repeat itself.  In the world of duality, certainly conflict or controversy can arise at any moment.  That is no cause for dismay.  What makes a big difference is how the problem is handled. Drutakarma Dasa’s handling of the jiva issue is an example of how not to do it. 

Finally, we hope that by presenting this book in response to the above letter and the book “Once We Were with Krishna”, the charges against us will be cleared and the controversy over the jiva issue will be resolved forever. 

Our approach has been to go back up the line of parampara, and see which of the two versions by Srila Prabhupada is consistent, with our previous acaryas.  We are confident that readers interested in vada, will be pleased with the result. 

If we have made any error or offense in our attempt to present the siddhanta, we pray for the kindness of the Vaisnavas that they rain their mercy down on us and guide us rightly on this razor-edged path.  Hare Krishna. 

All glory to Sri Guru and Gauranga.     First    Second   Third   Fourth   Fifth   Previous   Next


The End Notes here.

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