Conversation = Bogus Gurus , Bombay , 1977-04-25
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: ...been seeing this one person there by the name of Bhagavan Shringari Das, Bhagavan Shringari. He's the pūjārī of Lord Jagannātha. So he's claiming that when anyone goes to a holy place like Jagannātha Purī that they have to get initiated by a tīrtha-guru. So these foolish disciples, they're going and they're accepting initiation from him, and he gives them some mantra, and then he... Naturally there's an exchange of money. They have to promise to send money regularly for Lord... He says it's for Lord Jagannātha. Obviously Lord Jagannātha will never see the money. He also gets them to write a letter. The letters read something like that "I came to India blind, but now Bhagavan Shringari Das has opened my eyes." Doesn't even mention Your Divine Grace. And this boy, he was telling me this... When he asked about the holy places... This devotee, who---he's doing a little assistance to me---he refused to have anything..., take any initiation 'cause he said that he could understand that something was wrong. He asked him, "What about Māyāpur?" He said, "Oh, Māyāpur is nothing. That is not the dhāma." Then he said, "Dhāma means...," and he named the four dhāmas. So in this way some of the devotees are... Apparently they're even going back to America and they're encouraging others to send money to this cheater. This man is a big cheater. Govinda dasi, she took this initiation, and some other people, he mentioned... When he was there, there were already four devotees there, some householder devotee from Los Angeles, Govinda dasi,... He sells them things like the flag from the top of the temple for a hundred rupees. You know, different types of thing he sells them. So I said, "So why didn't you ask him, 'Now that we're your disciple and you're our guru, now take us into the temple'?"
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I told him that he should have said that "I will become your disciple, but you take me into the temple with you. Because disciple means the son, so if you're my father, so I'm your son. You take me into the temple." But he... One of the devotees asked that, but he said, "No, no, that will not be possible, but you will see Lord Jagannātha in the Ratha-yātrā time." The man is such a cheater. Of course, none of the more serious devotees, I think, are taking this man very seriously, but some of the devotees are a little less intelligent, so they are being fooled.
Prabhupāda: So the cheaters are there. If our men are cheated, if they agree to be cheated, how can I stop them? In Vṛndāvana also they have done like that, the bābājīs.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Same way.
Prabhupāda: Nitāi is victim.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Rādhā-kuṇḍa. And in Vṛndāvana also. That Jagannātha dāsa was telling you, remember, how he met some bābājī coming on the road.
Prabhupāda: So there are cheaters, and if one wants to be cheated, how we can stop?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Actually, this makes me feel that it's very important that we have our temple in Bhubaneswar.
Prabhupāda: So you can publish this in our Back to Godhead. These things are going on. Devotees should be very careful not to be victimized by this cheater.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I think I can write a letter to the "Letter to the Editors" column. That'll be the proper place.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Very good. What are...? Now, this man proclaimed himself to be "tīrtha-guru." What are some of the other ways that they will say? I remember Jagannātha was saying that he...
Prabhupāda: Tīrtha-guru, if he's able to take him to the temple, then tīrtha guru. Otherwise he's a goru, cow; tīrtha cow. That's all.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Say like that.
Prabhupāda: Yes. [laughs] Tell them that. He's unable to show Jagannātha. Then how he's guru? It is guru's responsibility to bring him to... That is upanayana. Upanayana, this sacred thread, means the guru brings him near God.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, this man gives them some thread, makes them touch his feet, the whole thing, offer coconut...
Prabhupāda: He's a foolish rascal. What can be done?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah. Jagannātha, when he was telling us about this bābājī, he said that there's also these bābājīs, they claim to be a guru for giving initiation into their svarūpa.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, svarūpa-siddhi. So we can mention this as also rascaldom.
Prabhupāda: Yes. What can be done? Cheaters there are. If you want to be cheated, who can stop you? He has made guru without asking his guru. He submits to others. Then how we can save him?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What does that do to his relationship with his own spiritual master?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: How does this affect his relationship with his...?
Prabhupāda: They don't care for his own spiritual master.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But what...? That means their relationship is spoiled.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Guror avajñā, aparādha.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Aparādha.
Prabhupāda: And Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised, "Save yourself from aparādha." Some aparādha, and they are going away, just like Nitāi. Guror avajñā.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: It's called the elephant offense?
Prabhupāda: Hmm. Vaiṣṇava-aparādha. The weak and the fools, they will be victimized. What can be done? Tīrtha-guru, the pāṇḍā is accepted tīrtha-guru... That... But he takes to Jagannātha temple and other holy places, gives him instruction about the holy places and so on, so on---shelter, food, in this way.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Hmm. There is such a thing.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Because I am unknown, so he helps me in every respect. So Vaiṣṇava accepts everyone as guru---śikṣā-guru, dīkṣā-guru, then tīrtha-guru. This is no harm. But what is this rascal, "No, no, you cannot sit down here. You take the flag and pay me hundred rupees"? If you are so rascal, who can save you?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Tīrtha-goru.
Prabhupāda: Tīrtha-goru, that is called. That risk is there because in India there are so many places, holy places. If you are not expert, you'll be victimized.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What about this svarūpa-siddhi?
Prabhupāda: Svarūpa-siddhi, that is bogus. Svarūpa-siddhi is not that you do all nonsense things and svarūpa-siddhi. Svarūpa-siddhi means when he is actually liberated, he understands what is his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That is svarūpa-siddhi. Sākhya... So that is far away. Unless... If he's such a fool, then where is svarūpa-siddhi?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So that realization doesn't come by some initiation from some bābājī.
Prabhupāda: That automatically comes when there..., he is liberated, not before. So the bābājīs give this mantra for svarūpa-siddhi?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Hmm.
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is going on.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: This man, he has a book now of these..., this man from Purī, Jagannātha Purī. He has a... He collects letters from each one of them, and he keeps them in a book, and he shows...
Prabhupāda: Yes, that "They have given me..."
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So many disciples.
Prabhupāda: The Vṛndāvana also they do. These things are there, their business. And they smoke gāñ..., opium, gāñjā. Pān they are chewing; fish. "Tīrtha-guru." In Vṛndāvana the jāta-guru, caste gosvāmī, they do like that. He'll not touch his water even, and still, he is disciple.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, but that... This is such a contradiction, that the man gives someone..., makes someone his disciple, but he will not take him.
Prabhupāda: He'll not take his food, he'll not touch his water, and still, he's guru. That's all. In Vṛndāvana it is going on, large. So many visitors come. They are victimized. They have got their step, in that way.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yeah, right. The devotees should understand also that any money that's given to these persons, the Deity will never see this money.
Prabhupāda: Cheating is going on. You have to be careful. Otherwise very risky. Vipralipsa. One of the qualification of conditioned souls is to cheat others and be cheated. Vañchita vañchaka[?]. Business cheat. [end]