Dear Sridam Prabhuji,
Hare Krishna. All glories to Sri Guru and Gouranga. I am so glad that my second letter was acceptable. Did Srila Gurudeva say anything? Here is appreciation #3. It is a section of a letter written to a Godbrother and his wife, whom I recently visited. They have Maharaj's books and have enthusiastically attended his sat-sanga. I don't have permission to re-print my whole letter to them, and they still maintain some affiliation with the local iskcon temple. I tried to explain to them why I don't have any longer any interest in attendance there with this example of Hari Katha from the Mahabharata. Bhima is still my favorite devotee, and maybe some day by the grace of Guru and Gouranga, Srimate Radharani will take his place in my heart. Here is what I sent to them:
> Thank you again for allowing us in your home and for tolerating my boorish personality.
> Speaking with different prabhus about the "hot topic of the day" always leaves me with a
> hope that I have done some good by voicing my feelings. One of the six exchanges of love
> between devotees is to reveal the mind. Some devotees don't want to even hear about
> certain events, some want to ignore them, and some want to dwell on higher subject
> matter. In Mahabharata there is one favorite section I have about Lord Krsna's visit to try
> and convince Duryodhona to give a peace settlement for the
> great Kurukshetra war. Since I think now that the iskcon temples are
> like Duryodhona's palace, and they are for me, perhaps not others, here
> is a reprint of Chapter 12 of the Udyoga Parva of the Mahbharata
> translated by Kamala Subramaniam.I refered to this chapter in my letters
> to Srila Gurudeva. I also made reference to Srila Prabhupada's attitude
> about visiting the Jagannatha temple.
* means an aside from me, Uncle Puru
Krishna and Vidura
Krishna went to the palace of Duryodhana. It was beautiful. It was like the palace of Indra. Krishna climbed the steps and entered the great hall. He saw Duryodhana seated on the throne. Sakuni, Dussasana and Radheya were seated on the throne. They all stood up when Krishna entered. They received him cordially. There was placed for him a seat which was fretted with precious stones and inlaid with ivory and gold. Krishna sat down on it with a pleased smile. Duryodoana was talking to Radheya (Karna). He now spoke to Krishna. He said: "Krishna, I am feeling very hurt that you have not accepted our hositality. We have made all arrangements for your stay and for your pleasant amusements. We have pepared excellent food for you. Why do you refuse all this and go to Vidura's house?"
Krishna listened to his complaint. He said: "Why,Duryodhana you have been entertaining me well. Is does not matter if I do not eat in your house. I will eat with you when my work is finished." Duryodhana said: "That is beside the point. Whether your work is finished or not , is immaterial. You are related to us. We have been so anxious to have you as our guest. It is wrong of you to have been indifferent to our hospitality. There is no enmity between you and me. You must not talk like this to us. We are quite fond of you."
Krishna smiled gently and said: "I am afraid I have to be frank with
you. I am not interested in your grand feast. I do not relish food in
the house of a person who is not righteous. You have been hating the
Pandavas without reason,
(*iskcon hates Srila Narayan Maharaj withoutreason, or if not hate, fears the association of without Krsna conscious reason)
for the last so many years. The Pandvas are dear to me. I am the soul of the Pandavas. He who is a slave to avarice, and ill treats them, is considered by me to be the lowliest of men. You hate them. So the food which you offer me is the food of an enemy. It must not be eaten. The Pandavas mean my very life to me. Your food is not welcome to me. I will eat only the food given to me by Vidura. He is dear to me and the Pandavas are dear to him".
Krishna got up and walked out. He walked into the street and proceeded towards the house of Vidura. Bheeshma and Kripa walked with him. They said: "please enter the house we have equipped for you." Krishna said: "Please go back to your palaces. You have entertained me with your words. I am now going to the house of Vidura". They had to return. Krishna ate his food there. He rested for some time.
Night had fallen. After being refreshed by his rest, Krishna got up
and sat with Vidura discussing the burning topic of the day.
(* what ismore burning a topic than the fate done to Srila Prabhupada's Movement Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Gaudiya Mission and how that affects our ability to reach the conditioned souls with Hari Katha?)
Vidura said: "Krishna, your coming is wrong. The foolish Duryodhana has
become immune to good advice. He does not care to listen to anyone. If
you talk to him he will not listen. In spite of the advice of all of us
he has decided on war. He thinks that he can win the war with the
help of Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Aswatthama, Radheya and Jayadratha.
Looking at the huge army he has collected, he thinks that victory is
his. He is sure that Radheya is enough to destroy his enemies. Your
words and mine will be disregarded. It will be as useless as playing
sweet music to deaf ears. They are all sinners. I do not like the
thought of your sitting in the midst of them. Please do not waste your
breath in talking to them about peace. I do not like to send you there,
to the court of Dhritarashtra. They will insult you, the greatest of
men. How can I bear to see you insulted?"
(* So I can't even discuss Srila Gurudeva's glory or offer his books to anyone over there,(iskcon) so why ever go? Similarly I can't discuss the subject mater in Srila Prabhupada's cc purports with new devotees (by Romabhadra's instruction to me) or will ever be allowed to give a public lecture there(I am sure by Romapada's influence). So for me, why bother going? I might sneak in at some other iskcon center where my internet reputation is not yet known, but my mouth would most likely not be stilled and I would cause disruption for certain. I am not so sense controlled and detached as Srila Gurudeva. Especially when I feel that prabhus are being cheated and misguided by karma misra bhaktas, who offer themselves to everyone as suddha bhaktas. See Chapter one and the preface of Srila BHaktivinode's small book.(the red one) Bhakta Vivek tattva for confirmation of that one.)
Krishna said: "You are fond of me and you are dear to me. I have no
secrets from you. Please listen carefully while I tell you the reason
for my coming. I know all that is to happen. I have come with the
full knowledge of the probable way the talk will proceed. I have come
to try and rescue these people from the death wich is imminent. I will
achieve great fame, if I am able to do it. Even if I am unable to
achieve it, the fact that I tried to save a dying man will be enough
for me. If a man thinks sinful thoughts and is not able to translate
them into action, even if he has thought wrongly, the sin does not
attach itself to him. And so, if this war can be averted, I think sin
cannot be ascribed to Duryodhana and his father. This great danger has
now come very near the House of the Kurus. If a man seeing ruin
approach someone, still does not do something to avert it, he is not a
man. Even if he has to be dragged by the hair, a doomed man must be
saved from the danger that is threatening to engulf him. I am very
keen on doing this service to humanity. I am hoping to convince
Duryodhana. Yuddhisthira has told me that he wants peace. He has asked
me to try my best to avert the war. I am very fond of Yushisthira.
(* I am very fond of Srila Narayan Maharaj, all my godbrothers and their children)
He (Yudhisthira) is the greatest man that has been born on this earth.
(* I cannot think of anyone aside from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur who was more dear to His Divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada than Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj.)
It is a honor to be loved by him.(Yudhisthira)
(* It is an honor and priviledge to be Srila Prabhupada's diksa and siksa disciple and be accepted as a siksa disciple by his dear friend and newphew, our older godbrother and cousin Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj.)
To oblige him(Yudhisthira) I have come on this mission of peace. I know that it is sure to fail. But then, I want to have the feeling that I tried my best. There is also this to be said. I (* Krishna is speaking) want to talk in the court in such a manner that people will see the man Yudhisthira as he really is. I want the world to know the kind of people whom Duryodhona has wronged. I want the kings who have rallied round the serpent banner to see what kind of man Duryodhana is, the man for whose sake they are prepared to lay down their lives. I want Bheeshma, Drona and all the others to see what a sinful course they have adopted in fighting with the Pandavas. The war cannot be averted. But the world will know why the war is to be fought. That is the reason for my coming, Vidura."
Krishna brought the subject to an end and then they talked of many things.
> So after some time I realised I would never convince many of my
> godbrothers about guru tattva but I hoped that if sincere devotees
> read the exchanges they might see the truth of the apasampradaya
> mentality exposed. The Bhakti Tattva viveka explains it very concisely and yet
> even after reading that the vijana of what to do next can also be lost.
So use this as you like and if Brajanath thinks Srila Gurudava might like to hear it he can read it to him. I will be writing His Divine Grace soon. Does he like to be kept up to date on such matters or is it an imposition to ask him each time we want to defend him?