“You are Cheating the Public!”
I think you have misquoted Srila Prabhupada in response to my previous letter (October 2010) against your reincarnation article (April 2010). In the quote Srila Prabhupada says, “Recently one astrologer has said that one of the biggest politicians in India has now become a dog in Sweden. May be correct or not, but there is possibility.”
1. The main theme behind his statements is reincarnation and he is not fully accepting that big politician became dog. He says it is a possibility. But in the BTG’s article it’s said with firm conviction that Edwin Booth is Amitabh and so on. I asked you if you were sure of this re-incarnation. You said no. But the photos say that it’s a fact that Amitabh was Edwin. So it means you say something and preach something else. You are cheating the public.
2. I again ask you the same question. Do you know for sure that so and so has reincarnated as such. Is the person who puts forth this theory an authentic source? He’s not.
3. In our previous conversation I said:
There may be another person who may have same qualities as Amitabh, and Amitabh may have been that person in his previous birth. We don’t know. So it’s not right to arrive at that conclusion.
Your reply: We leave it for the readers to arrive at their own conclusions. A popular book is highlighting the event of reincarnation, which is the basis of our philosophy. We are using it. If any one doesn’t believe it, it’s their choice.
Readers can come to their own conclusion. It’s silly. We need to say, “This is the conclusion.” Not that we say something and leave them to conclude whatever they want. Silly. Srila Prabhupada would never accept anything inconclusive to be published in BTG. If it’s inconclusive, why publish it?? Our magazine always should present a point and not let the readers speculate. I am shocked by yours statement you want the readers to decide for themselves.
4. I said: It pains to me when I realize that our ISKCON’s magazine is publishing something inconclusive, sentimental, and unauthorized.
Your reply: We have quoted an authority who is doing ground-breaking research on the subject and widely popularizing it in the western world. His methodology may appear unconventional, so for interested readers I gave a list of websites and books for reference. Lot of research went into compiling the article, which is based on evidences so far not used in mainstream ISKCON and have just begun to gain popularity and acceptance. The conclusions match with the Vedic philosophy.
Research and evidence should always be based on guru, sadhu, and sastra. So many books are published in the name of research work, and as per Srila Prabhupada all such research is useless. What is the use of going through so many websites and karmi books to explain something that is not pramanic? (Chandru)
Reply by Murari Gupta Dasa:
1. Please reread the article. The article states, “BTG does not confirm or refute the following claims, but is only reporting them. Simkiw (author of Born Again) proposes the following matches…”
What follows are quotes from the book. The captions of the photos do not say anything other than naming the personality.
2. No, I do not know for sure that the reincarnation matches are 100 percent correct. But they seem plausible.
One may have reservations in accepting the reincarnation matches made with the help of trance medium, and you are justified in having your doubts, but the other research and the conclusions of the author are very authoritative.
3. There can be no debate on basic Krsna consciousness philosophy and regulations, and on them BTG never compromises. Not all things, however, are in black and white. There are shades of grey too. Therefore, for the topics where a clear-cut conclusion is not available we don’t force our inference. We know that our readers are mature and well informed; hence, for them we cannot have a Taliban-style dictatorship. Even Lord Krsna gives free will. He says to Arjuna, “Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Bg. 18.63)
Similarly, we give sufficient knowledge and Krsna conscious conclusions for readers to deliberate upon. Even if BTG readers speculate whether Amitabh was Edwin or not, it is harmless and they will still accept reincarnation. But for some new readers this story may be a fascinating introduction to reincarnation, and it may stimulate further interest in this field and eventually in Krsna consciousness.
4. You have full freedom to reject the methodology used by the author. If you have anything better, anything based on guru, sadhu, and sastra to prove who was who in past life, please send it to us. We will publish it.
It was an excellent idea on your part to run an article on the deeper meaning of the rasa-lila in your magazine (September 2010). I offer my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja.
Devotees generally maintain a respectful distance from this topic. But when the uninformed public takes liberties with this confidential topic by writing and speaking offensively, the devotees ought to have some basic and correct knowledge about rasa-lila in order to refute this. If they remain silent and helpless, that is another offence. Maharaja’s article beautifully serves this purpose. (Sugita Vani Devi Dasi)
Expand the column
I have a suggestion. If you could expand the “Letters” column, more devotees and readers would become joyful to see their letters getting published. This would encourage more readers to continue subscribing to your magazine. (Thavaraja Sundhar)
OUR REPLY: Great suggestion! We usually run all the letters we receive. If more arrive, we will surely accommodate them.
Write to us at: Back to Godhead, 3rd Floor, 302, Amrut Industrial Estate, Western Express Highway, Mira Road (E)-401104.