Conversation: Bogus Gurus

April 25, 1977, Bombay
Tamala Krsna: ...been seeing this one person there by the name of Bhagavan Shringari Das, Bhagavan Shringari. He's the pujari of Lord Jagannatha. So he's claiming that when anyone goes to a holy place like Jagannatha Puri that they have to get initiated by a tirtha-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 Jagannatha. Obviously Lord Jagannatha will never see the money. He also gets them to write a letter. The letter reads 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 for 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 Mayapura?" He said, "Oh, Mayapura is nothing. That is not the dhama." Then he said, "Dhama means...," and he named the four dhamas. 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. (name withheld), 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, (name withheld)... 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'? "
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: 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 Jagannatha in the Ratha-yatra 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.
Prabhupada: So the cheaters are there. If our men are cheated, if they agree to be cheated, how can I stop them? In Vrndavana also they have done like that, the babajis.
Tamala Krsna: Same way.
Prabhupada: Nitai is victim.
Tamala Krsna: Radha-kunda. And in Vrndavana also. That Jagannatha dasa was telling you, remember, how he met some babaji coming on the road.
Prabhupada: So there are cheaters, and if one wants to be cheated, how we can stop?
Tamala Krsna: Actually this makes me feel that it's very important that we have our temple in Bhuvanesvara.
Prabhupada: 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.
Tamala Krsna: I think I can write a letter to the "Letters to the Editors" column. That'll be the proper place.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Very good. What are...? Now, this man proclaimed himself to be "tirtha-guru." What are some of the other ways that they will say? I remember Jagannatha was saying that he...
Prabhupada: Tirtha-guru, if he's able to take him to the temple, then tirtha guru. Otherwise he's a goru, cow, tirtha cow. That's all.
Tamala Krsna: Say like that.
Prabhupada: Yes. (laughs) Tell them that. He's unable to show Jagannatha. 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.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, this man gives them some thread, makes them touch his feet, the whole thing, offer coconut...
Prabhupada: He's a foolish rascal. What can be done?
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Jagannatha, when he was telling us about this babaji, he said that there's also these babajis, they claim to be a guru for giving initiation into their svarupa.
Prabhupada: Svarupa-siddhi.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, svarupa-siddhi. So we can mention this as also rascaldom.
Prabhupada: Yes. What can be done? Cheaters there are. If you want to be cheated, who can save you? He has made guru without asking his guru. He submits to others. Then how we can save him?
Tamala Krsna: What does that do to his relationship with his own spiritual master?
Prabhupada: Eh?
Tamala Krsna: How does this affect his relationship with his...?
Prabhupada: They don't care for his own spiritual master.
Tamala Krsna: But what...? That means their relationship is spoiled.
Prabhupada: Yes. Guror avajna, aparadha.
Prabhupada: And Caitanya Mahaprabhu has advised, "Save yourself from aparadha." Some aparadha, and they are going away, just like Nitai. Guror avajna.
Tamala Krsna: It's called the elephant offense?
Prabhupada: Hm. Vaisnava-aparadha. The weak and the fools, they will be victimized. What can be done? Tirtha-guru, the panda is accepted tirtha-guru... That... But he takes to Jagannatha temple and other holy places, gives him instruction about the holy places and so on, so on, shelter, food, in this way.
Tamala Krsna: Hm. There is such a thing.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because I am unknown, so he helps me in every respect. So Vaisnava accepts everyone as guru, siksa-guru, diksa-guru, then tirtha-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?
Prabhupada: Tirtha-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.
Tamala Krsna: What about this svarupa-siddhi?
Prabhupada: Svarupa-siddhi, that is bogus. Svarupa-siddhi is not that you do all nonsense things and svarupa-siddhi... Svarupa-siddhi means when he is actually liberated, he understands what is his relationship with Krsna. That is svarupa-siddhi. Sakhya... So that is far away. Unless... If he's such a fool, then where is svarupa-siddhi?
Tamala Krsna: So that realization doesn't come by some initiation from some babaji.
Prabhupada: That automatically comes when there..., he is liberated, not before. So the babajis give this mantra for svarupa-siddhi?
Prabhupada: Yes, this is going on.
Tamala Krsna: This man, he has a book now of these..., this man from Puri, Jagannatha Puri. He has a... He collects letters from each one of them, and he keeps them in a book, and he shows...
Prabhupada: Yes, that "They have given me..."
Tamala Krsna: So many disciples.
Prabhupada: The Vrndavana also they do. These things are there, their business. And they smoke gan..., opium, ganja. Pan they are chewing, fish. "Tirtha-guru." In Vrndavana the jata-guru, caste gosvami, they do like that. He'll not touch his water even, and still, he is disciple.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, but that... This is such a contradiction, that the man gives someone, makes someone his disciple, but he will not take him.
Prabhupada: He'll not take his food, he'll not touch his water, and still, he's guru. That's all. In Vrndavana it is going on, large... So many visitors come. They are victimized. They have got their step, in that way.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, right. The devotees should understand also that any money that's given to these persons, the Deity will never see this money.
Prabhupada: 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. Vanchita vanchaka. Business cheat... (end)

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