A gravely complicated matter to be pondered over both by the ‘neo-Gaudiyas’ and the ‘truly conventional’ cum the ‘namesake conventional’ Gaudiyas – a balanced, unbiased, ‘sara-grahi / essence-sucking’ and thorough analysis —
Whereas, many of the aspects found in the philosophy of Gaudiya Mutt (and the offshoots of Gaudiya Mutt like ISKCON, Askhaya Patra etc.) are not on par with the conventional/classical Gaudiya Vaisnava ideology (like the concept of varnasrama etc. — just to name one among many such topics), if one takes out good time to study the Gayatri-vyakhya-virittih (Sanskrit booklet composed by Srila Jiva Gosvamipada to reveal the true meaning of the brahma-gayatri-mantra), one will understand that brahma-gayatri-mantra is a purely Vaisnava-mantra. However, such allotment of brahma-gayatri-mantra should not be done in the form of upanayanam-samskara — for Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya’s vaisnava-diksa is a limb of bhakti-marga, whereas, upanayanam-samskara is a limb of karma-marga. However, its re-allotment can be done to a dvija who has already undergone upanayanam-samskara from a kula-guru. However, the re-allotment will not be considered a replacement for the upanayanam-samskara. Upanayanam-samskara, previously taken from a Vedic brahmana kula-guru — stands genuine at its place. The re-allotment of brahma-gayatri-mantra can be done as a supplement to the vaisnava-diksa to make aware the disciple in regards to the actual Vaisnava meaning of the brahma-gayatri-mantra not necessarily explained by the kula-guru.
Nonetheless, its allotment to non-dvijas cannot be considered authorized. But, the point is that even if BSST’s line is considered astray from the pure Caitanyaite lineage (which it is to much extent), then, even most of the conventional ‘parivaras’ (branches) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism are no behind in being labeled as ‘unorthodox’ (though, the unorthodoxy prevalent in BSST’s lineage contains far serious implications as it targets and distorts the basis of Sanatana-dharma viz., Vedic varnasrama & has serious theological misconceptions about the relationship between the vidhi and raga typed devotional paths and with matters pertaining to the siddha-deha and whether the hladini-prasuta-krsna-prema is inherent within a samsari jiva or not) for, over the time, they all have developed deviance in praxis like containing many female diksa gurus in their guru-pranali (viz., hundreds of gosvaminis/thakuranis of Advaita and Nityananda-vamsa — mainly — though the case of Jahnava Mata Thakurani is to be exceptionally taken, it does not mean that all the hundreds of female descendants coming in the line of Nityananda and Advaita prabhus can hold the post of diksa-guru; otherwise, after taking diksa from any such female guru, if the male disciple of such female guru takes virakta-vesa from some babaji — he won’t be able to at all associate with his female guru according to the standards set by Caitanyadeva during the precedent of Junior Haridasa in Caitanyacaritamrta’s Antya-lila wherein, associating with a female even se senior as Sadhvi Madhavidevi Mahiti (who is has been counted among the three and half most intimate followers of Caitanyadeva in Caitanya-caritamrita by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraaja) — in any way – is totally prohibited for the male renunicates of Gaudiya Vaisnavism — those renunciates on ‘acarya’ post are not counted in this as they have to deal with all types of disciples whether male or female) — not eligible to be diksa gurus according to the scriptures (though Agama texts like Shandilya-samhita permit the vaishnava-tantriki-diksha from a dvija-family born Aryan female guru, as far as the amalgamation of the Vedic and Agama/Tantra paths is concerned, such is not allowed and hence, in Haribhaktivilasa 1.38-59, only a male from the caturvarnas can act as a diksa-guru — for Srimad-bhagavatam doesn’t allow the implementation of the sole Agama path in Kaliyuga, but an admixture of both the Agama and Vedic ways) and the conventions of other vaisnava sampradayas existing till date (a separate paper has been composed by BRVF’s Acarya Sri to prove that only a male candidate born in the dvija/vipra kula can act as the mantra-diksa guru – after his upanayanam samskara and undergoing the studies of the Vedas; females are forbidden to study the Vedas — thus, the qualifying scriptural criteria of diksa-guruship ostracizes female candidate for that position by default) . No authentic classical Vaishnava Sampradayas like Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha and even Ramanandis — to name the prominent ones — have a precedent of having female guru’s in their diksa-parampara.
So, a wise person will not actually bother to change his ‘unbroken & connected’ diksa-guru-sisya lineage (if the diksa-guru is seminally hailing from an antyaja/mleccha/yavana ancestral background, he needs to be rejected for it is against the scriptures and tradition & if a diksa-guru is voted out in a meeting of managers/administrators, he needs to be rejected as well) just because of ideological or praxis related deviance (of course, no moral deviance can be tolerated as verified by the Mahabharata verse cited in Bhakti-sandarbhah — “guror apy avaliptasya…..parityago vidhiyate”) shown by the ideals set by some of his purva-gurus (all due to effect of Kaliyuga), but will try to eradicate the flaws which have come into the Sampradaya. The simple logic is that if the immediate parents disobey their ancestors, the progeny will disregard the authority of his disobedient immediate parents and will part with the ancestry. This is the only means through which the deviance/disobedience exhibited by the immediate parents can be checked.
If this point is not understood, wherever a ‘perfectionist’ seeker/sadhaka goes to repose his faith, he will get baffled — because, at present, in Gaudiya Vaisnavism, some and some discrepancy – smaller or bigger — in praxis or in theory or in historical understanding about the development of his Sampradaya — (according to scriptural perspective) is seen in mostly, all branches of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (whether conventional/classical or neo).
Apart from these recently seen deviated branches of neo-Gaudiya Vaisnavism, there are some authorized branches of classical Gaudiya Vaisnavism which are authorized in their philosophy and praxis (and which continue till date), but, which retain/carry on the taint of having being ostracized from the orthodox Gaudiya Vaisnavism by those holding power in 16th, 17th and 18th centuries (example — Srila Rupa Kavisvara Gosvamipada and his lineage as well as the lineage of Gadadharabhatta Gosvamipada, Srila Narayanabhatta Gosvamipada and Hariramavyasa Ji etc.). Such diplomatically inspired ostracizing does not hold any value in the last.
To the surprise of the many Gaudiyas of today, even Srila Visvanatha Cakravarttipada was ostracized from the Gaudiya Vaisnava circle of Radhakunda (many concrete evidences are with the Acarya Sri of BRVF to prove these matters) on a permanent basis — by the power holders viz. the then pontiffs of the Govindadeva Ji, Gopinatha Ji, and Madana-mohana Ji temples (the most important three seats of classical Gaudiya Vaisnavism in Vrindavan/Jaipur in the medieval era). However, acting diplomatically, Visvanatha Cakravartti succumbed to the conditions put forth by the then ‘managerial authorities’ of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and thereby, regained his status as an ‘acarya’. But, other genuine scholarly masters like Srila Rupa Kavisvara etc. (the uncle of Visvanatha Cakravartti in blood relation) did not succumb and hence, were barred from the mainstream of the Sampradaya forever.
But, such administratively inspired decisions, even if they were approved by the royal kings (like the King Jaisingh of Jaipur – early 18th century) — do not hold any value in the last — so far as the tenets and praxis of any such ‘ostracized’ branch of Gaudiya Vaisnavism do not contravene with the classical standards.
On the other hand, the ostracizing of saints like Hitaharivamsa Gosvami ‘Vrajavasi’ (called as ‘Mahaprabhu’ by his followers — till date) of 16th century – who was the initiated disciple of Srila Gopalabhatta Gosvami — was proper because, he concocted a new philosophy where the perverted form of raga-marga was introduced — like observing no Ekadasi fast etc. Even though his sampradaya continues till date, just because it is a 5 centuries old sect, it does not tantamount to its authenticity.
In many documentary evidences preserved in the Royal Library of Jaipur, it is evident as how the renunciants (babajis/sadhus) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism had become demoralized (not all, but many) after the middle of the 18th century — especially in Vraja and Navadvipa. The debasement/retrograde of Gaudiya Vaisnavism had come about. So, even though such demoralized sadhus were ‘connected to the original/traditional/classical ‘parivaras’ or branches of Gaudiya Vaisnavism’, nonetheless, they cannot be considered true representatives of their parampara!
This fact is, also, mentioned in the 19th and 20th century works of many oriental Indigenous scholars (who wrote many portions of their English/Bengali books on describing the Gaudiya Vaisnavism) and one famous example is found in the book of Late Mr. D.R. Bhandarkar (founder of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra, Bharata — almost a century ago) where he has expounded on the Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Book is entitled as – ‘Vsisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems’.
Many anciently preserved documentary proofs, also, suggest that on the pretext of ‘parakiya-bhava-upasana’ (the way of worship were a devotee considers Lord as his extra-marital paramour), tantrik erotic practices had entered many sects of Gaudiya Vaisnavism in the 18th century. And the male sadhus started keeping the female ascetics (sadhvis) along with them as their ‘kept-wives’ — this practice is eve now seen in many places in Vraja, Navadvipa and Jagannatha Puri — affiliated with the ‘babaji’ samaja of Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya (though not all babaji ashrams are infected with this malady — most are). The 17th-18th century documentaries in the custody of the Royal Library of Jaipur suggest that there were large herds of Gaudiya Vaisnava (mostly Bengalis) male renunciates (bhekadhari babajis) accompanied by their kept-wives viz., the female celibates (young widow sadhvis clad in white cloth) – which were always seen going and coming to and fro on the Vrindavan-Jaipur rajamarga (highway) and this scenario had agitated the society back then.
Because, even Visvanatha Cakravartti etc. differ in many places from the views of Srila Jiva Gosvami (on many matters — not just one), there are many in the Gaudiya Vaisnavism, who are not wanting to accept even Srila Visvanatha Cakravartti (and, sometimes even Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana for innovating many new concepts into Gaudiyas Vaisnavism) — in full alignment with the Six Gosvamis — though the mainstream Gaudiya Vaisnavism including many camps accept these two dignitaries as the ‘bahu-manya’ or accepted by the majority – if not by all — (if not sarva-manya or unanimously accepted) acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
There are many issues in Gaudiya Vaisvanism, where, even the traditional camps severely differ from each other. One such issue is whether Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is a fully autonomous sampradaya or is a branch of the Madhva Sampradaya. Each side labels other as ‘deviant’. And each side has their own arguments. This controversy in Gaudiya Vaisnavism is not a recent one, but is continuing since late 17th century (BRVF’s Acarya Sri has concrete classical proofs to verify such past happenings).
Even the birth-place of Sri Caitanyadeva is debated to an extent that there are many differing views found even among the various traditional camps — not to speak about the view accepted by Gaudiya Mutt etc. (the neo-Gaudiyas).
Whereas, the views of most traditional branches of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (when they propose the identity/oneness of Prabodhananda Sarasvati with Prakasananda Sarasvati) is not accurate when matched with the authentic classical biographies written on Caitanyadeva, the view of neo-Gaudiya leader like BSST (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati – founder of Gaudiya Mission/Mutt) on this issue stands out fully accurate and according to the mood of the classical biographical works on Caitanyadeva.
As far as the taking of sannyasa by BSST goes, he self-took it. Whereas, there are many incidents in the classical and recent Gaudiya Vaisnavism, where many saintly personalities (not those coming after BSST in SBSST’s succeeding line) directly connected with the conventional Gaudiya Vainsavism – took tridanda-sannyasa – but from the gurus of other vaisnava sampradayas and sometimes even self-took Vedic sannyasa as is the case with Late Prabhupada Radhikanath Gosvami of Advaita-vamsa. Whereas, there are many in the traditional Gaudiyas camps who consider taking of Vedic sannyasa as non-Gaudiya praxis. Hence, the Gaudiyas Vaisnavism remains throughly divided on all such matters irrespective of whether the classical or neo camps.
As far as the allegation that BSST was not initiated by Gaurakisoradasa Ji (hailing from the Advaitacarya Parivara) is concerned, if that were to be the case, Srila Visvambharanandadeva Gosvamipada (householder and the 8th seminal descendent in the lineage of Srila Rasikananda Gosvamipada – Shyamananda Parivara) of early late 19th and early 20th century – would not have mentioned BSST as one of the current leaders of Gaudiya Vaisnavism in the self-written introduction to his Sanskrit philosophical work ‘Astikya-darsanam’. This is a recorded proof by an acarya of an esteemed traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava camp which should be taken into consideration while pondering over the objections raised by many Babaji camps who try to disprove the diksa taken by BSST from GKDB.
Considering all these anomalies prevalent in Gaudiya Vaisnavism due to the effect of Kaliyuga, now the sole objective of BRVF is to present Gaudiya Vaisnavism in a way which makes it aligned with the classical tenets/praxis established by Six Gosvamis (the theological founders of Caitanyadeva) and to make the presentation of Caitanyaite Vaisnavsim in a way where a direct connection between it (Gaudiya Vaisnavism) and the overall mainstream Sanatana-dharma can be concretely seen (an aspect which Gaudiya Vaisnavism has failed so far to achieve).
Conclusive verdict — Therefore, considering all the above variegated facts, anyone sincerely and purely following the tenets and praxis advocated by the classical works of the Six Govamis – if he is connected with the unbroken diksa lineage commencing from the founders of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (like Advaitacarya, Nityananda, Gadadhara Pandita, Caitanyadeva, Six Gosvamis, 64 Mahantas, 12 Gopalas etc.) — even if some of the recent mentors in that lineage preceding him have not kept up the spirit of the classical Gaudiya tenets — nevertheless, such an ‘orthodox’ (in spirit/mood) devotee/leader/organization of Gaudiya Vaisnavism stands fully authorized without any doubt.
Note — Anyone not in agreement with the above views is advised to keep a far distance from BRVF and its Acarya Sri Gurupada — without any ifs and buts. Time is extremely valuable and cannot be wasted in futile matters.
— Bhaktirasavedantapithadhisvara Acarya Sri Gurupada
Link to the whole above essay — https://goo.gl/wS3LHD