Desirable and Undesirable Association

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.15-16 | December 28, 2012 | Attitudes in Devotional Service, Mayavada, Advancement

English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

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Advaitins Criticize Srila Prabhupada

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Question: I have seen many people on the internet criticizing Srila Prabhupada for his comment’s and opinions about Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and other Advaitins and Gurus. They say Srila Prabhupada was not able to control himself, when someone asked him for his opinion about these people.… Expand>

Question:

I have seen many people on the internet criticizing Srila Prabhupada for his comment’s and opinions about Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and other Advaitins and Gurus. They say Srila Prabhupada was not able to control himself, when someone asked him for his opinion about these people.

As you know Srila Prabhupada’s letters are open to everyone and anyone who is from any other institution can read them and propagate negativity about Srila Prabhupada. They say that the words he used like Rascal hurt many people’s feelings, and they think that Srila Prabhupada wrote his books to make everyone join ISKCON and turn to Krsna and to criticize anyone who did not followed what he wrote.

Those who follow Advaita are very critical of Prabhupada and ISKCON and they have written many articles challenging what Srila Prabhupada said. Their followers say that ISKCON’s members are close minded and have less intelligent people and also that they talk with limited scriptures.

How can we understand these things? Aren’t there people in ISKCON who can debate with Advaita gurus and disciples?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami: 

- Good. Glad to hear it. Glad that they know that Prabhupāda’s criticising them, the rascals. They shouldn’t criticise him, then they go to hell with Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and others. Anyway, to continue what is being written here.

They say Śrīla Prabhupāda was not able to control himself, when someone asked him for his opinion about these people.
Yeah, Śrīla Prabhupāda also said that. He once said: “I’m not able to control myself, I want to kick them in the face.”

As you know Śrīla Prabhupāda’s letters are open to everyone and anyone who is from any other institution can read them and propagate negativity about Śrīla Prabhupāda. They say that the words he used like rascal hurt many people’s feelings, - Oh, yes. - and they think that Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote his books to make everyone join ISKCON and turn to Kṛṣṇa – Yes! - and to criticize anyone who did not followed what he wrote. – Correct, yes.
Those who follow advaita are very critical of Prabhupāda and ISKCON – Not all of them. - and they have written many articles challenging what Śrīla Prabhupāda said. 

– Actually, if they follow advaita, than they have to take sannyāsa, according to Śaṅkara. Śaṅkarācārya, who is the founder of the Advaita school, his philosophy is for sannyāsīs, and to be a sannyāsī in the Advaita line you have to be born in a brāhmaṇa family. And you have to study Sanskrit and Śaṅkarācārya’s works like Śārīraka-bhāṣya, Viveka-cūḍāmaṇi, and all this kind of things. And he didn’t recommend advaita-vāda, this path for the common people. They are supposed to follow varṇāśrama smārta dharma. So, if you are actually following advaita, you have to be a sannyāsī, according to Śaṅkarācārya.

Their followers say that ISKCON’s members are close-minded and have less intelligent people and also that they talk with limited scriptures.

How can we understand these things? Aren’t there people in ISKCON who can debate with Advaita gurus and disciples?

- Send them. I’m ready. Where are they? Limited scriptures means… How many scriptures can you understand anyway? Bhagavad-gītā is itself the essence. In Gītā it’s very clear that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we have to surrender to Him and be His devotees. So Bhagavad-gītā is accepted as the essence of all the scriptures and in Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa also says:

na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
prapadyante narādhamāḥ
māyayāpahṛta-jñānā
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ

So we should quote Bhagavad-gītā, in which Kṛṣṇa says that those who don’t surrender to Me are rascals. Either one kind of rascal, or another kind, or third kind, or fourth kind, but they are all rascals. So what do our Advaitavādīs have to say to that? According to scripture, you don’t need many scriptures.

gītā su-gītā kartavyā, kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ
yā svayaṁ padmanābhasya, mukha-padmād viniḥsṛtā (Gītā-māhātmya, verse 4)

So, states that one should recite Gītā very carefully. There is no need to study so many scriptures in great detail, because this is directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. So, all right, well that just establishes the point. Prabhupāda, he called people rascal, but he had to speak on the basis of Bhagavad-gītā. Well, it’s not sure if that’s also… That which I’ve just quoted - kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ - it’s not sure if that’s by Śaṅkarācārya. It’s often attributed to him, I checked this out once, but in the list of works attributed to him by his followers this Gītā-māhātmya doesn’t come. There’s another one that he made in which that famous verse comes:

vasudeva-sutaṁ devaṁ
kaṁsa-cāṇūra-mardanam
devakī-paramānandaṁ
kṛṣṇaṁ vande jagad-gurum

Which Śrīla Prabhupāda, he made a commentary in English on that Gītā-māhātmya of Śaṅkara. 

So, according to śāstra, those who don’t surrender to Kṛṣṇa are rascals, fools, lowest among mankind and even though they may me very intelligent, their actual knowledge is covered by illusion. So what to say? Advaitavādīs, they are also supposed to accept Bhagavad-gītā. So they are negative about Prabhupāda. Yes, of course they are, because they are rascals. Rascals don’t like to be called rascals, but it’s unavoidable. Has to be said.

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