Stop Deceiving Us
By Bhakta Joseph Crowl
“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.”
When a serious and sincere seeker of genuine spiritual life emerges from the fog of mundane existence and starts the long road to spiritual enlightenment, he is often overwhelmed by a tidal wave of bogus systems and leaders. Once all obvious institutional religiosity is overcome, he reaches a more subtle and much more dangerous form of covert institutional religiosity. It appears genuine, it has most of the hallmarks of being genuine, but alas, the trap has been set, and you are fooled by Mäyä and her agents.
Glaring defects in the “Henceforward” Argument
By Bhakta Ernest Dras
About two decades ago, the world-wide web was not at all so widespread as it is today. As such, for a newcomer to Kåñëa consciousness, there was almost no information available about all the deviations within and without “ISKCON” after Çréla Prabhupäda's disappearance. I felt great relief when I finally came into contact with some critical websites and writings that revealed many of those nasty developments. Initially, I was particularly attracted to a website where its (now notorious) chief writer was attacking all the “ISKCON” mis-leaders, but, gradually, one point of his overview bothered me significantly: He was in favor of the Ritvik idea.
Just the thought of making a connection to the paramparä via some priest (ritvik) standing between me and the Absolute Truth was repulsive. My experience with Christianity (and their dull priests) had been unavoidable. This is not what I was reading about, and tasting in, the Bhägavatam: A serious seeker should find a mahätmä, a self-realized guru, and surrender to him directly.
The Emissary of God
So fortunate is our birth on this planet, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead Çré Kåñëa appeared in order to give us a glimpse of His activities in the spiritual world. Also fortunate are we to have had, on this planet from time to time, the association of Vaiñëavas empowered by Çré Kåñëa in His manifest absence. Çréla Prabhupäda was an emissary of God who walked on this planet earth. Even in His devotee’s and the Lord's own absence, there is recourse to transcendental literature, which is non-different from a pure spiritual connection.
The VAISHNAVA FOUNDATION was founded in order to provide a forum for honest seekers of the Absolute Truth. Inherent in the purposes of the Foundation is the need to discriminate between sentimentally-driven Kåñëa consciousness and Kåñëa consciousness which is actually based on the instructions of the previous spiritual masters. As such, the Foundation keeps the emphasis on knowledge and realization, as opposed to absorption in congregationalism.
The Vaishnava Foundation spares no effort in presenting the philosophy of Kåñëa consciousness as it was presented most recently by our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda. In this way, the Vaishnava Foundation does not sacrifice the Absolute Truth for the sake of some ephemeral unity or so-called cooperation.
In addition to offering a firm philosophical foundation, the Foundation sheds special light on the plight of the Kåñëa consciousness movement since the departure of His Divine Grace in November of 1977.
The Vaishnava Foundation was founded in 1986 by Kailäsa Candra däsa, an initiated disciple of Swämi Prabhupäda. The Foundation presents the same message and spirit that was available during the manifest physical presence of His Divine Grace, repeating his message as it is according to experience, logic, and personal realization. This is possible due to the leadership of Çréman Kailäsa Candra däsa, who represents Çréla Prabhupäda and directs service activities for the members of the foundation. Kailäsa prabhu’s teachings preserve the philosophy of Çréla Prabhupäda, because he has never allowed himself to come under the influence of party-spirit factions, such as the zonal äcäryas or those that have come after.
Çréla Prabhupäda was extremely pleased by devotees who were familiar enough with his books to resist misleading presentations by deluded leaders of his movement, such as the four sannyäsés of 1970. Strictly adhering to Çréla Prabhupäda’s instructions, Kailäsa prabhu has provided such an alternative since at least 1979. (see biography)
Those who affiliate with the Foundation obtain the opportunity to help him in this effort and thus obtain the mercy of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda.
Svarüpa-jïäna--or intrinsic knowledge concerning the sädhaka, the sädhana, and sädhya--is non different from the svarüpa of çuddha bhakti. When such svarüpa-jïäna has not yet arisen in a sädhaka--but the desire to cross over the ocean of material existence has arisen within him--then the symptoms of bhakti visible in him at that time are merely bhaktyäbhäsa. This bhaktyäbhäsa transforms into çuddha-bhakti when one obtains svarüpa-jïäna. Even for Vaiñëavas duly initiated into a genuine sampradäya, the vastu-prabha--the illumination of one's identity arising from the mantra received upon initiation by his dékñä-guru--does not appear until he receives the enlightenment of his svarüpa-jïäna by the mercy of çikñä-guru. Due to ignorance of svarüpa-jïäna, svarüpa-çuddha-bhakti remains covered. Hence, only bhaktyäbhäsa is visible.
Unfortunately, in present day society, in the name of çuddha-bhakti, various types of mixed devotion--such as karma-miçra, jïäna-miçra, and yoga-miçra, as well as various polluted and imaginary conceptions, are spreading like germs of plague. People in general consider these polluted and mixed conceptions to be bhakti. They respect them as such and thus are deprived of çuddha-bhakti. These polluted and mixed conceptions are our greatest enemies.
Some people say that there is no value in bhakti, that God is only imaginary sentiment, that man has merely created the image of God through imagination, and that bhakti is a diseased state, unable to benefit us in any way. These types of opponents cannot harm us much, because we easily recognize them and avoid them. However, those who propagate bhagavad-bhakti as the highest dharma--yet behave against the principles of çuddha-bhakti--can be especially harmful to us. In the name of bhakti, they instruct us against the actual principles of bhakti. This ultimately leads us to a path that is diametrically opposed to bhagavad-bhakti. Therefore, with great endeavor, our previous äcäryas have defined the svarüpa or intrinsic nature of bhakti, repeatedly cautioning us to keep away from polluted and mixed concepts.
Bhakti Viveka Tattva By His Divine Grace Çréla Bhaktivinode Öhäkur Prabhupäda
|Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright Bhaktivedanta Book Trust|
The following five articles constitute the core of the Vaishnava Foundation presentation. They are essential for anyone desiring to make tangible progress in spiritual life at the present time.