Auckland, New Zealand
4 December 2003
Some days ago I published a letter from a devotee named Rajiv who inquired about asvamedha-yajna. He furthermore wanted clarification of a story he heard about Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura rejecting his diksa guru. These two questions I answered, but a third question I overlooked. Rajiv wanted to know if it was true that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had eaten fish. In Svalikhita Jivani, the autobiography of Srila Bhaktivinoda (which is broadly available as a datafile within the ISKCON community of computer users), the Thakura does mention that before he took initiation at age 50 he did accept non-vegetarian dishes that are popular in Bengal, including fish. That should not be surprising for devotees with discrimination; after all, Bhaktivinoda Thakura played the role of an English-educated man of sophistication before he revealed himself as the Seventh Gosvami.
For devotees without discrimination, the Thakura's culinary habits before his initiation into Gaudiya Vaisnavism will remain a subject of bafflement. If you are baffled, you need a guru; if you have a guru and are yet baffled, awful sorry about that.
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