Kurma Prabhu responded with a comment on my recent post and asked me display it here so others can see his response. I’m happy to do so.
Hare Krishna Pandu dasa,
Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Excuse me writing to you as a comment but your letter to me above never reached me (did you send it?).
Sorry if I offended anyone by my letter. To be fair, I did not directly call the other Kurma dasa a faultfinder. But if you have read what he has written over the years, he has insulted many of my Godbrothers. To hear blasphemy or criticism of the Vaisnavas is like drinking poison. I have written to those who Ken/Kurma has criticised, seeking to clarify that it was not me who wrote those things, and that I mean them no harm.
I struggle to hang on to the lotus feet of my Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada, so the last thing I need is to offend the devotees and be banished into the cold merciless regions allocated for those who have committed Vaisnava Aparadha.
As I said in my article, I know Kurma (Ken), we are friendly to each other, and he knows my concerns. If he wants to write what he writes, and others want to publish it, so be it. But I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that I am not the author; I do not want to offend, or to be thought to offend, any devotee.
Hope this clarifies my feelings.
Dear Kurma Prabhu,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for your reply. Perhaps I should have written to you directly, but my usual procedure with my Dandavats comments that get rejected is to post them on my blog. I was pretty sure you would see it promptly.
I appreciate your desire not to offend anyone, but honestly, your Dandavats post included a clear public criticism of the other Kurma prabhu. Although you didn’t “directly call the other Kurma dasa a faultfinder,” you described him as, for example, “writing a lot of critical articles for these fault-finding web sites,” and contrasted him with yourself by saying that you’re not a fault-finder. I’m not quite sure what it means to not be a fault-finder in a society that, for example, was sued by more than 500 of its own children for horrific abuse. There must be some fault, right? Is it better to ignore it; or should it be found and removed?
Despite the necessity of addressing faults that exist, we all know that calling someone a faultfinder or critic of devotees is a very effective way to ostracize the devotee while letting others get away with murder. It was not only your article, also that other devotees piled on while my moderate defense of him was not permitted on Dandavats.
I’ve only seen the non-chef Kurma’s writing on one web site, so I presume you were calling the Sampradaya Sun a fault-finding web site, again without directly saying so. (Please note that in CC Madhya 19.159p, Srila Prabhupada says, “If we treat people diplomatically or duplicitously, our spiritual advancement is obstructed.”) Sampradaya Sun is actually a place where controversy is addressed and readers are trusted to use their intelligence to weigh the facts. It is not that the Sampradaya Sun only posts criticism; in fact brahminical discussion from all sides is most welcome. I’m sure you could submit any article to the Sampradaya Sun, and it would be published. In fact it is a more appropriate place for you to distinguish yourself from the other Kurma das, since that’s where he writes. On the other hand, I would not expect Dandavats to allow the other Kurma to post his view in response to your article.
“But if you have read what he has written over the years, he has insulted many of my Godbrothers. To hear blasphemy or criticism of the Vaisnavas is like drinking poison.”
I have read much of what he has written, but probably not everything. I don’t know what examples you are thinking of, or what you consider an insult, blasphemy, or criticism. Is truth a defense? I know if I am honestly desiring spiritual advancement, but deviating from spiritual principles and someone calls attention to the fact, I would consider the person my guru, a representative of Krishna, helping me to come to truth and integrity. Perhaps my pride would be hurt, but it’s a small price to pay for advancement in Krishna consciousness. Those who are leaders in Srila Prabhupada’s movement must be above suspicion. At my job we must not only avoid any impropriety, but even avoid giving a possible appearance of impropriety. I expect at least as much from ISKCON’s leaders. Should I not?
I have written a lot more on this, but I’m reluctant to post most of it. Therefore, I’ll just end with an interesting quote:
From Our Srila Prabhupada, A Friend to All, “Early Contemporaries Remember Him,” this part told by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja:
“…Later Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu wrote another dramatic article — this time about some of the leaders in the Gaudiya Matha. The article explained how the institution was coming apart after Srila [Bhaktisiddhanta] Prabhupada’s departure. Grihasthas were giving up their wives and loving others’ wives, and in the name of developing the mission, some were putting all the money collected into their own pockets. Sannyasis, even those who had been with their Prabhupada, were making buildings and sending all the money to their sons in their former homes to go to high school and university, or to go to England and America to study law and other things. He wrote about this situation and the first part was published in our Bhagavata-patrika and Gaudiya-patrika. At once a big storm broke out in the whole Gaudiya Mission. Although only about three pages were printed, letters began to come from many Gaudiya Mathas.
“It was like a revolution. Our guru maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were talking and smiling very secretly together. Prabhu said, ‘We should publish more of it. Why not?’ Guru Maharaja was also in favor of publishing it. However many of the godbrothers exclaimed, ‘Oh, Kesava Maharaja, what are you doing, printing this? Then everyone will know and will criticize the Gaudiya Matha. These are our private family matters.’ Even Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja, who was highly respected by all, was consulted. Many godbrothers came to Mathura at that time and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu was residing here in our matha. Srila Tirtha Maharaja andother devotees asked, ‘What are you going to do? If you print this then our present institution will be smashed.’ Guru Maharaja and Abhaya Caranaravinda Prabhu were smiling and asking each other, ‘Oh, what to do?’ But when requested by so many godbrothers they decided, ‘Later on we may publish the articles, but for now we should obey their orders.’”
It would appear that Srila Prabhupada not only found fault when it was there, but also exposed it publicly for the purpose of reform. Perhaps we’re not so bad after all?
Sincerely, your servant,