Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

In 1998 Swami B. V. Tripurari was invited by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) trustees to address their annual meeting in Los Angeles. After his presentation and a lengthy discussion period Wednesday morning, he departed the meeting to a round of applause and the heartfelt appreciation of the assembled devotees.

About the meeting Swami said, “I am not sure that most of the trustees understood the gist of my message, although Jaya Advaita Swami seemed to. In essence, I told the assembled members that in order to distribute love of Krishna one needed to love Krishna himself, and that diving deeper into the literary heritage of Gaudiya Vaisnavism was essential for developing love of Krishna. Thus there should be a department for bringing these literatures into print. Let them be printed by the BBT and let them come from any qualified author. Indeed, Gaudiya Vaisnava authors should aspire that their books be printed by the BBT.

“I believe that this is what Prabhupada had in mind for his BBT, that it would be the leading publisher of Gaudiya Vaisnava literature in the world. This will not happen without new authors. Let not the rtvik misconception enter the BBT. Indeed the BBT was set up independent of ISKCON for the specific purpose of keeping Prabhupada’s message vital should the institution of ISKCON lose its vitality, its soul. As much as ISKCON is Prabhupada’s body, the BBT is his soul. Material well being follows spiritual well being. If we want to help the body of ISKCON, we must revive its soul.

“I reasoned to the trustees that publishing Gaudiya literature is also essential for keeping Srila Prabhupada’s books in the center of the BBT and ISKCON. My reasoning was that Srila Prabhupada drew upon the entire corpus of Gaudiya literature in writing his books, and acquaintance with it reveals this, better enabling one to appreciate that which Prabhupada has written and excavate the hidden gems in his books. Without this and the association of advanced Vaisnavas, one runs the risk of subjugating the teaching to one’s intelligence and the sense that one already knows the books, etc.

“The unhappy result of this is that one loses his or her excitement for spiritual practice. In this condition one becomes unreceptive to the ongoing challenge of spiritual life, and while going through the motions, one makes little or no advancement. In the worst case scenario, such persons offend those who come to challenge their understanding in the hopes of reminding them of the very spirit that brought them to spiritual practice in the first place.”

While in L.A. Swami Tripurari attended the Bhagavata discourse of Jaya Advaita Swami in the Los Angeles ISKCON temple. During the class, someone asked, “While Prabhupada said Krishna consciousness was a science, how do we reconcile this with what you said, that progress is not a matter of following a set pattern?”

After Jaya Advaita Swami’s reply, Swami Tripurari offered a comment and Jaya Advaita Swami encouraged him to speak, an excerpt of which follows.

“When we speak of the guru-parampara (disciplic succession) thoughts of conformity enter our mind. However, in order to properly understand parampara we must connect the parampara with the spirit of the search for truth. This spirit is one of nonconformity. It is revolutionary. Like attracts like. Therefore, the parampara is in essence about nonconformity, for when we conform to the will of the Absolute we become independent. The outer appearance of the guru-parampara is not its essence.

“Srila Prabhupada told us that his formula for success was that he strictly followed the words of his Guru Maharaja. However, many of his Godbrothers replied “What is he talking about? He changed everything!” Similarly, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura infuriated the orthodoxy of Gaudiya Vaisnavism with his innovative institution, Gaudiya Matha. Guru, by his very nature, will be controversial.

“In the karma-marga we must execute every aspect of the ritual precisely. If a ritual calls for mango leaves, we cannot substitute banana leaves and get the desired result. In the karma-marga we aspire for a material result through religious observance. The spirit of this is not one of nonconformity because it does not concern the heart of the Absolute. However, Gaudiya Vaisnavism is concerned only with the heart of Krishna and nothing else. At the same time it takes on an exterior form in its practice that is similar to that of the karma-marga. Thus great Vaisnavas are difficult to understand, vaisnavera kriya mudra vijne na bhujaya. While their outer activities may parallel those in the karma-marga, their heart and ideal are diametrically opposed to the hearts of those on the karma-marga.

“Thus we should be careful not to misconstrue that which we are involved in, thinking that simply doing a particular service will automatically bring the corresponding result of love of Godhead. Krishna is not bound by anything other than love. It is the inner spirit of the service that is vital to bhakti. Sadhus remind us of this by saying things that turn our heads around, like “Parampara is not about conformity, but rather it’s about nonconformity, revolution!”

“Krishnanusilanam is a science, but a science of love. As much as science speaks of predictability and precision, love is unpredictable. There is comfort and stability in love, but it is a dynamic stability, not a static stability. The science of Krishna consciousness is, to use another of Prabhupada’s terms, the art of loving Krishna.”

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