There was another jolt of electricity given to our movement a couple of days ago – the GBC announcement on HH Mahanidhi Swami’s status, who is no longer a swami and, subsequently, no longer HH either.
Disciples are obviously devastated, some have invested quite heavily to live in their guru’s neighborhood and are now left with no purpose in being there any longer. Another sannyasi falldown is also an obvious blow to our guru doctrine and a gift to our critics.
Having said that, I think it was actually a blessing in disguise.
Why? Because this is what Krishna thinks necessary for Mahanidhi’s own spiritual progress. If his body didn’t have enough strength to withstand material temptations then giving up the robes is better than pretending. No one can act against his own nature and if maharaj took upon himself a dharma of a sannyasi while still being attached to female association then, as Krishna teaches us in Bhagavad Gita, it’s better for him to be a failed grihastha than a perfect renunciate. This unnatural dharma can’t last very long anyway, and I think it’s better that maharaj was corrected at a relatively young age. Well, I think he’s got at least a couple of decades to properly deal with his attachments.
His spiritual health is not the only reason, though. Perhaps even more important is the effect his resignation will make on the particular type of practice that he’s been advocating.
My personal impression has always been that he was a Narayana Maharaj counterpart in ISKCON. I mean that while “rasika” devotees flocked to hear rasa katha outside, Mahanidhi Swami provided the same service “in-house”. I thought he showed that it can be done right, without leaving the shelter of Srila Prabhupada and within Srila Prabhupada established boundaries.
Apparently it wasn’t all that peachy, though, and now the chickens came to roost. I don’t know if there’s anyone who would continue with this experiment in ISKCON, I sincerely hope that Mahanidhi Swami’s falldown would be a lesson for all of us to stay away from rasa katha for good.
Apparently maharaj was taking instructions and more on the outside and had a big fallout with Aindra Prabhu. There is a talk about Mahaniddhi Swami receiving siddha pranali or some other “special” initiation from one of the babajis in Vrindavan. There’s no definitive proof of that but apparently that was the reason for Aindra Prabhu’s outburst.
If that really was the case, as everyone is led to believe anyway, then maharaja’s good standing in ISKCON kind of justified it. His falldown, however, proves that all this esoteric staff is nonsense.
When you start feeling your spiritual arms and legs then some sort of instructions on how to use them is definitely in order, and that’s what siddha pranali process is for, but for that you have to be way past the liberated stage, completely detached from the workings of your material body, and in awareness of your actual spiritual form. Trying to superimpose siddha pranali on our material mind and imagination won’t work, and I hope maharaja’s case has proven it once again.
This falldown also once again drew everybody’s attention to Vrindavana babajis. I can’t say they are all impostors but what is definitely clear is that nothing good comes out of our association with them. Ever.
Let them do their thing, Srila Prabhupada told as to stay away from them, and he gave us the process that works for us. What more do we want? Any attempt to outflank Prabhupada’s instructions would be ruinous, and any attempt to behave on a level higher than our actual spiritual advancement would be ruinous, too.
If we use our material bodies to participate in Krishna’s pastimes we’ll become sahajias. It’s perfectly okay to engage our bodies in Krishna’s service in any way He wants but the problem with material bodies is that until we are fully liberated we use them for our own enjoyment, not for Krishna’s. This will never change, no matter what we try. We can’t bring our lusty, needy, gluttonous bodies in contact with Krishna.
Look at the Six Goswamis – they were inside Krishna’s pastimes everyday but they never brought their external bodies into it. That’s the path shown by our acharyas – external bodies should be engaged in external service according to directions of guru and shastra while direct service to Krishna should be rendered internally.
“Rasika” devotees, on the other hand, having no access to this internal, spiritual platform, try to compensate for that with linking their material bodies and minds directly with the Lord. This will not work.
According to our acharyas these “rasikas” will never ever penetrate into spiritual Vrindavana even if they drink and bathe in Radhakunda all their lives. “You do not simply walk into Mordor”, as a popular meme goes. You do not enter into Radhakunda by sticking your hand into it.
As for disaffected devotees – I suspect they were attracted by these false promises and so their disappointed is not only natural but also well deserved. If they can look past it and re-examine the actually prescribed path then they should see that it’s a perfect opportunity for them to put their lives solely into Krishna’s hands.
They’ve been abandoned in Vrindavana, after all – do they really need saving? Maybe only from themselves.
So, all in all, this recent falldown looks like a good thing. GBC is accused of covering up earlier cases of indiscretion but I’m sure they’ve got used to it by now. They are the ones who are supposed to call an accidental slip up from an irreversible falldown, I don’t think any one of us would do this kind of job better, none of us has the same access to facts, and none of us has the experience of carrying this kind of responsibility. Internet trash talk is easy, we should not fall for it and we should not give any real credit.
PS. There is one Ramesh Baba of Varshana involved in this story. Some say he is a sahajiya but there aren’t any facts to back up this assessment, no reasons to believe so. For all we know he could be a genuine sadhu, we should be careful with branding him as this or that.