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Letter from Vipramukhya Maharaja

September, 2002

My dear friends and disciples in ISKCON,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I'm sure some of you who saw me this summer, might have wondered why I had grown my hair out a little bit. One person even asked me about it the other day in England and I told him it was because of observing "chaturmasya" - the four months of the rainy season in India when sannyasis in the renounced order of life typically perform austerity, which sometimes includes not shaving.

Unfortunately, it is not actually the case with me.
And so it is with a heavy heart that I write this letter that I never thought would be written. After giving so many years of my life to the Hare Krishna Movement (more than 29), twenty of which have been as a sannyasi, I have reached an emotional and spiritual crossroads.

I have tried as sincerely as I could to give my mind, body and soul to the eternal service of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and also trying my best to help others in need. Yet, while working sincerely to help others, I regret that I neglected my own emotional and spiritual needs.

Although I never stopped chanting my rounds, over the last few years my rounds became "sloppy," and although I worshipped Salagram and Govardhan Silas, gave many lectures, and traveled the globe, I could not shake the loneliness and emptiness of my silent world.

I felt unable to discuss my problems with anyone for fear of repercussions and the blight that someone in my position might encounter for having such problems. Regretfully, I also confess that seeking some kind of recourse and companionship, I was not always able to strictly follow the regulative principles, though I was not able to discuss this with anyone except one kind devotee who has been a true friend.

It might come as a surprise to some of you that someone like me, who was blessed to have so many truly good and descent friends in the Hare Krishna Movement, could feel so alone and isolated within himself, but that is exactly what I have felt over the years.

I joined ISKCON at the age of 20 after a brief and short failed marriage from the age of 18. Two years later, at the age of 22, I was put up for consideration to take sannyasa, which I eventually did accept at the age of 28. I was approved for accepting disciples at the age of 32 and accepted my first disciples at the age of 33.

Now, many years later, at the age of 49, I have reached a dead end in my ability to continue.

There are truly good friends and disciples out there that have loved me and dedicated their lives to assisting ISKCON under my guidance, and for them I have no proper words to say. It is not that I want to neglect you or abandon you. It is only that I am simply unable to continue living the external show of being the advanced devotee that I am not. I don't think that would be beneficial either to you or to me.

There are advanced devotees in ISKCON, and it is my duty to request those who have accepted guidance and shelter under me to take shelter of other senior devotees within ISKCON, and if in doubt to consult your local GBC representative. I bear no ill toward the GBC or ISKCON, and have not ever knowingly preached in such a way that would be considered inappropriate for a representative of ISKCON.

As my behavior and activities are no longer appropriate for someone in the renounced order of life or spiritual leader, I will no longer be able to maintain those posts of honor.

As for me, I still believe in Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. I still believe in the GBC system that Srila Prabhupada set up for ISKCON. However, I will be living a life of seclusion from ISKCON now and will sort out my personal emotional and spiritual needs independently.

I sadly release my disciples and aspiring disciples. I hope that you do not curse me out of anger and despair. However, it would be cruel and unfair if I were to falsely mislead you into believing that I am in some way qualified or capable to act as your true spiritual master. I am not.

The email addresses that most people know for reaching me will be discontinued shortly after sending this letter. I wish to be left alone for awhile.

One or two persons regularly send me donations. Vrindavan-lila and the Garrisons in New York regularly send me money. I am no longer qualified to receive these contributions.

In Vancouver, Canada, I have a lot of stuff in a corner room in which I lived for many years at the temple. These things include the bed, the dresser of drawers, the couch, the electric heater and the microwave oven. I give these to Madhumati devi dasi with the exception of the bed, which should remain as part of the room. In that room there are some white cabinets to the right as you enter the door from outside. Jaya Govinda Prabhu has the key to those cabinets. I have already removed the valuables from those cabinets that I wish to keep and have taken them away. The rest may be discarded or kept by whoever desires them. The air conditioner belongs to Janardana dasa but I think he will not come and remove it from the room.

At Bhaktivedanta Manor in England I have some cabinets in the sannyasa guestroom in the brahmacari ashram. Likewise, I have already gone through these cabinets and removed what I wish to keep. However, in the right hand cupboard there is a chest of drawers (where the blue network wire emerges from). Next to that you will find two microphone stands. These belong to the theatre department. I am leaving them the pop-screens attached to those stands, although I have taken the studio microphones which I purchased with my mother's money.

Inside my small room between room 4 and 5 in the brahmacari ashram, I have also removed the things I wish to keep. I suggest the microwave oven remain as part of that small room. Of particular interest, however, is that I left a stereo CD player in that room. I wish that this CD player be given to Dvaraka Puri and the theatre department. The rest of the items in the room may be dispersed or discarded, as I have already removed whatever I wish to keep.

ISKCON Long Island, in Freeport, NY, owes me $10,000 plus interest for a loan I gave them to help pay off the mortgage, as documented in the promissory note that we drew up at the time of the loan. Although I am no longer continuing with my roles in ISKCON, I would expect that this money be paid back as planned, as this was money I received from my mother.

I wish you all well, and I pray that although fallen, I may one day be forgiven for my offenses. Although I have about 40 initiated disciples, there are a few very close friends and disciples who I see or speak with regularly and who will always be close to my heart, and who may be affected even more than others. I wish to mention these people by name. Manik, Prema Lila, Madhumati, Bhakta Chris and Rasa Parayani, Vraja Vilasini, Citralekha and Mirabhai - will all be deeply affected by my departure. Others such as Panca Pandava, Ekacakranath, Amrta Keli, Devahotra, Taruna Krishna and his wife Gokula Taruni, Mayapur Lila, and Vrindavan Lila have all been close disciples in Canada, the USA, Australia and Great Britain. My apologies to all of you for my shortcomings.

Yours sincerely,
Vipramukhya dasa

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