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Thinking the Spiritual Master to be an Ordinary Man

by Vidura Mahatma das —

         I have recently encountered some rather offensive ideas and statements online about Srila Prabhupada, made by an individual who is supposed to be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. This individual is named Pratyatosa. He has made some nice arguments in support of Srila Prabhupada’s ritvik order and has done some nice website work as well. But as much as I have tried to ignore his statements in light of some of the more positive ideas of his, it has come to a point where I now feel obligated to publicly address these statements of his, so as to set the record straight as far as respect and faith for Srila Prabhupada go.

To start, Pratyatosa das seems quite comfortable openly disagreeing with Srila Prabhupada. This in itself is not a symptom of a faithful disciple of Srila Prabhupada.

Pratyatosa:I admit it. I do not agree with Srila Prabhupada that the moon is further away than the sun. To say that Prabhupada never makes a mistake is to say that he’s God. This is Mayavadi nonsense.” (Social media – October 2 at 10:15 am)

Despite clear statements by Srila Prabhupada referring to Srimad-Bhagavatam that the moon is further from the sun, Pratyatosa believes he holds a greater or at least equally valid opinion on the matter. Pratyatosa also insists that Srila Prabhupada makes mistakes. Again, not a great sign…

Please see this recent article I put together about the moon hoax, consisting entirely of quotes by Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada says:

“Unless you cent percent agree with the spiritual master’s opinion or philosophy, there is no need of accepting a spiritual master. There is no need. (Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 2.8-12 — Los Angeles, November 27, 1968)


Disciple(1): …Śrīla Prabhupāda, what are the qualifications of a perfect leader?

Prabhupāda: No mistake, no illusion, no cheating, no imperfection. Anyone who commits mistake, he’s illusioned, he’s a cheater and imperfect—he cannot lead.

[…]Prabhupāda: If you think your leader is mistaken, then you are mistaken. (laughter)

(Morning Walk — March 16, 1976, Mayapura)


“God is omniscient, so a pure devotee can become omniscient by the grace of God.” (Morning Walk — June 8, 1976, Los Angeles)

Srila Prabhupada didn’t have his facts straight?

Pratyatosa: “Srila Prabhupada, over a period of several years, repeatedly stated the maximum weight of a woman’s brain. Sometimes he would say it was 34 ounces. Sometimes he would say it was 36 ounces. Both figures are not even close. Why didn’t the ISKCON “biggies,” who were always surrounding him, do a little research and inform Srila Prabhupada that those figures are incorrect? Could it be that they were more concerned with keeping their own positions than whether or not Srila Prabhupada got his facts straight?”

Of course, Pratyatosa rests his faith on the words of mundane scientist’s when it comes to this women’s brain ounce subject, rather than Srila Prabhupada.

More recently, Pratyatosa remarked:

Prabhupada knows everything” is what the devotees told me when I first joined ISKCON by moving into the Detroit temple in 1970. But then, in 1971, when I finally got a chance to ask him a question in person, I was, needless to say, a little taken aback when his immediate reply was, “I do not know….” (October 20)

It seems that Pratyatosa is always out trying to spread the word that Srila Prabhupada is not perfect, makes mistakes, didn’t have his facts straight, etc. Pratyatosa goes out of his way to do this.

Srila Prabhupada says:

Although a devotee may apparently express himself to be ignorant, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter.” (SB 3.7.8 purport)

 

         At this point in this article it is becoming clear that Pratyatosa’s mentality has degraded into every devotee’s worst nightmare: thinking the spiritual master to be an ordinary man. This is perhaps one of the most frequent warnings Srila Prabhupada and sastra give, in order to protect our devotional life. Unfortunately, what follows leaves little doubt that Pratyatosa does indeed feel this way.

Pratyatosa: “Hindsight is 20-20.” Therefore, I can now see that the first Hare Krishna devotees that I met, in Washington DC in late 1969, didn’t have this sentimental “Prabhupada knows everything” idea. They all had actually lived with him for several months, if not years, at 26 Second Avenue in NYC, so they not only knew his shortcomings, but they also loved him very dearly. In other words, they knew Srila Prabhupada as their ever well-wisher and as the most deeply lovable human being that they had ever met! I was so, so fortunate to have their association.”

This is like Satsvarupa’s Lilamrta all over again! What a nightmare! No wonder Pratyatosa is always quoting people like Urmila and Drutakarma, both still active in the deviant ISKCON to this day. Drutakarma is even a voted-in guru himself!

Srila Prabhupada says:

“…if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant.” (SB 7.15.26 purport)

“Na martya-buddhyāsūyeta: one should never think the ācārya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the ācārya.” (SB 6.7.15 purport)

“If the spiritual master is considered an ordinary man, the disciple surely loses his chance to advance further.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.14, Purport)

“One is forbidden to regard the spiritual master as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir …naraki sail). The spiritual master, or acanja, is always situated in the spiritual status of life.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.4.24, Purport)

“Intermingling the spiritual with the material causes one to look on transcendence as material and the mundane as spiritual. This is all due to a poor fund of knowledge.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 16.72, Purport)

“One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am,” said the Blessed Lord. “Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods.” (The Science of Self Realization: 2: Choosing a Spiritual Master : The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master)

 

The conversation painfully went on as follows.


Niscala Devi Dasi: It’s wonderful to see this balanced and realistic perspective on SP, which is rare these days. Most people seem polarized- either thinking SP was infallible and perfect in every sense, or thinking he was misogynistic, racist, etc. But the people closest to him knew that he was in neither of these categories.

Pratyatosa das: Yes. It seems that it’s usually one extreme or the other: The “Prabhupada knows everything” fanatics on the one hand or the “Everything Prabhupada says is subject to question” fanatics on the other!


I guess there’s someone for everyone…

 

Krsna made Prabhupada say “outrageous and untrue things”?

Pratyatosa: “My theory is, that since the pure devotee is always under Lord Sri Krishna’s complete control, Prabhupada would sometimes say, with a tape recorder running, outrageous, untrue things just to toy with them in order to prove to future generations what self-motivated rascals they were. This is yet another example of one of Krishna’s clever tricks!”

One can see why I felt compelled to expose Pratyatosa’s blasphemy in an article. Pratyatosa tries to rationalize every offensive statement he makes, as seen in the above quote by him. Pratyatosa is a master of rationalization.

Pratyatosa recommends initiation by gurus other than Srila Prabhupada

Last but not least, Pratyatosa – quite predictably at this point – made the following comment to me:

All that “the moon is further away than the sun” people can do is talk. They can’t do anything practical. For example, they can’t calculate the exact moment of the next lunar eclipse! Don’t you have a guru who can explain these things to you? Who initiated you?

I am left wondering, why does pratyatosa support the ritvik order on one hand, but then basically recommend initiation by one of the voted-in gurus on the other hand? Who knows. Who cares. I just wanted to set the record straight. 

Sincerely,

Vidura Mahatma das

 

Suggested Article: Faith In Srila Prabhupada

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15 thoughts on “Thinking the Spiritual Master to be an Ordinary Man

  1. Srila Prabhupada didn’t depute “David M,” who hides behind a cowardly cloak of anonymity, to preach to the people with college degrees in science or mathematics. He deputed Sadaputa Dasa! And Sadaputa says the same thing that I do: that man DID walk on the moon and that modern astronomers are CORRECT about such things as the distances to the sun, moon, and planets.

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  2. Srila Prabhupada may have deputed Sadaputa, but Pratyatosa doesn’t agree with Srila Prabhupada – he agrees with Sadaputa. So that means Sadaputa doesn’t agree with Srila Prabhupada either! Both Sadaputa and Pratyatosa are indeed on the same page: Neither of them agree with Srila Prabhupada! Hah! So Srila Prabhupada deputed Sadaputa to…disagree with him later on???

    p.s. How am I anonymous? I have to give my last name? You first!

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  3. Haribol Prabhus. Thank you for your comments. I usually do not like to intervene in discussions, but it seems to be getting out of hand now. Pratyatosa just submitted a comment for moderation which contains more personal attacks, irrelevant, i’m sure, to the discussion. I have made the decision to not publish the comment. But I will portray a relevant part of his pending comment just to be fair, along with a response from myself.

    Pratyatosa, in the relevant portion of his pending comment, insists that Srila Prabhupada had the “mistaken opinion” that man did not go to the moon. This argument of Pratyatosa’s has already been addressed in the above article. The conclusion is that the bona fide spiritual master’s opinion is never mistaken, because the spiritual master is not an ordinary man, even if Pratyatosa thinks he is. A bona fide disciple must come to the point where he has full faith in the words of his spiritual master, whose words are above the four defects, including mistakes. Srila Prabhupada spoke on the basis of sastra and what he says is also sastra in and of itself. We should follow in the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada and repeat what he says instead of repeating what people like Satsvarupa says in his book, or what Hrdayananda says, or what the so-called feminist movement Sastric Advisory Council says. Any intelligent devotee should know to reject the last three sources of misinformation, as they do not and have not represented Srila Prabhupada’s teachings for a long time now, neither in words nor actions.

    The Srimad-bhagavatam gives us information that the moon is above the sun. Sadaputa prabhu may give his bhu-mandala interpretation of this, to the effect that traveling to the moon would not necessitate traveling a further distance than the sun, which according to modern science is 93 million miles from earth. But Srila Prabhupada tells us that the moon being above the sun means that it would take longer to travel to the moon from earth than it would to the sun. Srila Prabhupada presents this as an indisputable fact, which he uses to defeat the scientist’s claims of traveling to the moon considering their own given distance of the sun from earth. The scientist’s would thus have to travel over 93 million miles before reaching the moon (accepting their distance of the sun from earth for arguments sake). So we cannot accept Sadaputa’s interpretation over Srila Prabhupada’s and sastra’s. Bottom line: it takes longer to get to the moon than it does the sun because the moon is above the sun.

    Sincerely,
    Vidura Mahatma das

    See The Moon Hoax, In Srila Prabhupada’s Words

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  4. Pratyatosa: “Hindsight is 20-20.” Therefore, I can now see that the first Hare Krishna devotees that I met, in Washington DC in late 1969, didn’t have this sentimental “Prabhupada knows everything” idea. They all had actually lived with him for several months, if not years, at 26 Second Avenue in NYC, so they not only knew his shortcomings, but they also loved him very dearly. In other words, they knew Srila Prabhupada as their ever well-wisher and as the most deeply lovable human being that they had ever met! I was so, so fortunate to have their association.”

    Amar Puri says ; ” Pratyatosa ; Since, as it appears from your above cited comments that you knew Srila Prabhupada’s short comings, therefore, how could you be fortunate having other devotees’ association who also knew Srila Prabhupada’s short comings ? How can you be fortunate having association of the personality Srila Prabhupada who has had short comings ?

    If you can not clarify your very own contradictory statement, then, you are a LIAR, a CHEATER and a HYPOCRITE.

    Pratyatosa: “My theory is, that since the pure devotee is always under Lord Sri Krishna’s complete control, Prabhupada would sometimes say, with a tape recorder running, outrageous, untrue things just to toy with them in order to prove to future generations what self-motivated rascals they were. This is yet another example of one of Krishna’s clever tricks!”

    Amar Puri says ; ” Where is the proof of such things as you made out a statement saying that Srila Prabhupada would sometimes say with a tape recorder running outrageous untrue things ………… ”

    Present the PROOF.

    If you can not provide such PROOF, then, you are a LIAR, a CHEATER and a HYPOCRITE like so many leaders / gurus of all sorts in the present Iskcon misleading massive people.

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  5. I don’t think Prabhupada tricked his disciples, I think Pratyatosa tricked us into thinking he is a disciple of Prabhupada when he is really a disciple of material science. That is fine if he doesn’t believe in conclusions of Prabhupada in his purports of his books but Pratyatosa should just admit he believes in material science and doesn’t have real faith in Prabhupada. That would be the honest thing to do in this situation but Pratyatosa just ridicules and censors anyone who takes Prabhupada at his word in Srimad Bhagavatam.

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