Boon-dog-ill: Beyond “ISKCON” Triumphalism

By Kailasa Candra dasa

“Such accomplishments are possible only when one worships the real Krishna and not some fabricated "Krishna" invented by foolish men who are without knowledge of the intricacies of the science of Krishna described in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.” Sri Isopanisad, Verse 13, purport

“Once before you wanted to do something centralizing with your GBC meeting, and, if I did not interfere, the whole thing would have been killed.” Letter to Karandhar, 12-22-72  All emphases in this article are added for your edification and realization

“(She) ‘felt profoundly that things do not stand much looking into.’” Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent 

The fabricated so-called “ISKCON” is to the vitiated GBC what the decaying husk of a coconut is to its dried and hardened pulp within.  “ISKCON” does not exist without the influence and direction of the corrupt GBC, and this has been the situation for well over thirty years. 

The stool of the post-modern “ISKCON” Brotherhood stands on four legs.  The first leg consists of lower echelon party men, fanatics, enforcers, bewildered chelas, and all the sycophants that the corporation nourishes.  The second leg consists of the Deities, some of which were legitimately installed (1967-1977) and some of which, subsequently, have only been allegedly so.  The third leg consists of all the bogus gurus, along with the institutional “diksa” that each of them provides or has provided.  The fourth leg is connected to the operation’s propaganda machine, including changed books originally written differently by the Acharya, colorful brochures advertising unauthorized works, etc.

The seat of the stool is the vitiated GBC itself, and the Hindoo now provides much of, if not most of, the financial lubrication that keeps the fiasco operational. The “ISKCON” Brotherhood does not like light to be shown upon its situation, but that is just what is required at this time.  That light will generally be accompanied by heat later on, and by this heat, we can be delivered from this fabricated “ISKCON”--and especially from the tenacious grip of its rotten core, the GBC.

In 1986, your author was graciously invited to the Left Coast by a GBC man; he was apparently intent to grow an insurrection against the abovementioned corruption at a center de jure under him there.  After a promising start, this GBC departed for Mayapur, cashed in his accrued chips, and accepted the post of voted-in guru.  He was, accordingly, greeted with a hornet’s nest at the abovementioned center when he returned to the States.  Our dealings afterwards were not infrequently tense, as could only be expected.  During a particularly acrimonious exchange, this GBC (“ISKCON” diksa-guru) exclaimed with exasperation: “ISKCON is one!”  Well, let us look into that.

“The standards I have already given you, now try to maintain them at all times under standard procedure. Do not try to innovate or create anything or manufacture anything; that will ruin everything.” Letter to Bali Mardan and Pusta Krishna, 9-18-72

This excerpt definitively indicates that, when standard procedures are replaced by unauthorized innovations manufactured by Maya, the movement will be ruined.  Will it be ruined instantaneously?  Will all of the Deities immediately burn Themselves to ashes?  No, it does not work like that.  Nevertheless, the process of corruption will ensue in order to run its predestined course, and the question here is this: Can that corruption be considered Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement?

Now, the fanatics and party men (these are often one and the same, of course) have their rationalizations ready at hand.  These people are extremely delusional, and their intelligences have been crystallized into a binary from which escape is almost impossible.  They will opine that the current corruption is very temporary, is dissipating, and but part of the Lord’s arrangement, part of His inscrutable plan.  They will further allege that their “ISKCON” Brotherhood is destined by Providence to spread Lord Caitanya’s movement to every town and village in the world. 

Furthermore, they will push the GBC mystique, complacently believing, with great conviction, that the GBC has an automatic self-corrective mechanism.  Over and above all of this, they will leave unstated their delightful, self-serving misconception that the corruption is but a test to see who will stay on the boat, or, to apply another favorite analogy of theirs, to see who will survive the shaking of the Caitanya tree.

Nevertheless, there is a problem with all of this: Prabhupada has used the term ruin.  In other places, he has used the words deteriorate or spoiled. When something is ruined or spoiled, it does not return to its original state.  A diamond can be covered by a ton of coal, but that coal ball does not ruin the diamond.  The gem may not be discoverable, but it remains a diamond.  An apple, on the other hand, drops to the ground and eventually spoils.

Why Things Fell Apart

1) “I cannot understand why, instead of one GBC man, a person outside the Commission was given so much power, and there was to be immediate action without divulging the matter to the devotees. And I am surprised that none of the GBC members detected the defects in the procedure. It was detected only when it came to me. What will happen when I am not here, shall everything be spoiled by GBC?” Letter to Hansadutta, 4-11-72

2) “So, I want you leaders especially to become very much absorbed in the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and become yourselves completely convinced and free from all doubt. On this platform you shall be able to carry on the work satisfactorily, but if there is lack of knowledge, or if there is forgetfulness, everything will be spoiled in time.” Letter to Hansadutta, 6-22-72

“As soon as there is little impurity, the whole thing will deteriorate and go to hell. So, we shall not like to take the credit in that case. Therefore, I am praying simply that all of you, my advanced disciples--GBC men, sannyasis, temple officers, like that--that all of you will become sober-minded and feeling always very much responsible how the things will go on as I have given them.” Letter to Pusta Krishna, 12-29-72

3) “Once there is bureaucracy, the whole thing will be spoiled.”  Letter to Karandhar, 12-22-72

4) “If we simply go on expanding and there are no qualified men to lead, then everything will be spoiled eventually.”       Letter to Ravindra Svarupa, 1-5-73

5) “Other than the bona fide Vaisnava functions, we cannot divert our devotees' attention to such participation in so-called religious functions. This has spoiled the Hindu religion into a hodge-podge pseudo religion.” Letter to Gopal Krishna, 4-27-73

6) “Why is there this politics? This is not good. If politics come, then the preaching will be stopped. That is the difficulty. As soon as politics come, everything is spoiled. In the Gaudiya Math, the politics is still going on.” Letter to Guru Kripa, 9-30-75

7) “In all our dealings, we should be above suspicion. They say first impressions are lasting. If someone feels cheated by our men because they are using dubious methods of distribution and collecting money, our purity may be doubted and reputation spoiled.” Letter to Kirtanananda, 10-15-76

8) “We have worked very hard and established a great institution, but if we think for our personal benefit, then it will become ruined. This is my only concern.” Letter to Cyavana, 11-1-74

9) “One thing is, though, if the management continues to be so nasty, then that place will also be ruined. Management must be done very nicely; otherwise it is useless.” Letter to Satsvarupa, 6-4-75

These quotations are numbered for a specific purpose.  You will all be asked nine questions related to the specifically numbered quotations delineated just above.  These subsequent questions will appear to be plural, but actually they are not.  Each question orbits around a central nucleus or theme, is directly related to the quotation (above) having its same number, and, for all practical purposes, is rhetorical:

1) Has the vitiated GBC spoiled the Hare Krishna movement?  When the GBC declared eleven neophytes to be mahabhagavats (all of these eleven themselves being GBC men), did it then not irreversibly set into motion the ruination of the movement?  When the GBC created the unauthorized acharya-board, did it not specifically go against the orders of His Divine Grace and, in effect, spoil his movement?  When it pushed self-serving Bengali slogans from Swami B. R. Sridhar (a so-called “higher authority”), did not the movement then enter into the abyss? 

When it merely removed uttama-adhikari worship (and, even then, with at least one exception) for an expanded section of so-called diksa-gurus--but still maintained that all the previous disciples were initiated and were to remain acolytes of their now “reformed gurus”--did it not spoil the whole process?  When it introduced the process of “re-initiation,” resulting in various new people taking another, and then another, and then yet another initiation, did it not deconstruct the real edifice of the guru-disciple relationship?  When it authorized the sand-mixed-with-sweet-rice (along with a few drops of virile poison) biography known as the “Lilamrita,” did it not spoil the true understanding of the Acharya? 

When it bought more time (a particular vibhuti of these party men) and continued to play fix-it-as-you-go, first claiming that Prabhupada appointed the eleven . . . oops! . . . then claiming that Prabhupada appointed the GBC and it appointed the eleven . . . oops! . . . then employing the method of a straight up-and-down vote (in which one GBC became guru by one vote--and he voted) . . . oops! . . . then instituting no-three-blackballs (adding, for good measure, a wait of one or two or three years in the queue), did it not spoil what only appears to be the Hare Krishna movement? 

When it failed to condemn the unauthorized book changes over at the BBT (now warped into the BBTi), did it not surreptitiously aid and abet the removal of real authority from the movement?  When, inspired by vengeful politics, it booted Pradyumna prabhu from his authorized service of commenting on the remainder of Srimad-bhagavatam, replacing him with one of the egregious enjoyer/scholars (a Phd like Ravindra!) who was pivotal in the ocean’s eleven mahabhagavat scheme, did not the GBC arrange to spoil everything in due course of time?  Could not at least thirty more examples of this same question be listed here, and do you really need this article to list all of those in order to get the point?

2) Have the (mis)leaders indeed forgotten who was and is His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada?  Have they forgotten how ultra-powerful and heavy he was?  Have they forgotten how uncompromising he was?  Have they forgotten just what his mission was? (Hint: It was never supposed to be a Diaspora for the benefit of the Western Indian).  As a result of this forgetfulness, there has been lack of knowledge demonstrated throughout “ISKCON,” which is now shot through with feminism, Western pragmatism, all kinds of ministerships, inter-faith, kirtans-with-the-Mayavadis-and-pasandis-and-pantheists, bureaucracy, Hinduism, and institutional gurus (all of whom are therefore automatically bogus).  Is the answer to this question of forgetfulness and lack of knowledge also a no-brainer?

3) Are not committees, subcommittees, GBCs-for-zones-that-they-never-visit, seminar courses at expensive resort hideaways, myriad ministerships, assistant GBCs, and even “retired sannyasis,” all but part of a labyrinth design of the latticework of the bureaucracy?  Is not upward mobility in this bureaucratic superstructure now considered to be the measure of advancement in (so-called) Krishna Consciousness?  To be concise, is the “ISKCON” Brotherhood not permeated with bureaucracy?

4) Is not the watered-down, dumbed-down emphasis on superficial growth—with so many sparsely populated (often, brain-dead space cadets just roaming about) temple structures, their doors often shuttered—but just one example of horizontal expansion within a devolutionary vortex of downward-spiraling, institutionally-fixated so-called “realization”?

5) Has not the Hindoo wormed his way through “ISKCON,” buying his way in so that he can secure all kinds of material accommodations for himself, his family, and his friends?  Does not the Hindoo actually control (and, for all purposes, practically own) some of the Western temples of corporate ISKCON?  Do not the PR men at some of these temples openly advertise their place of worship as a Hindoo institution?  Except for (and to an extremely limited and controlled degree) within India, did His Divine Grace want that not even the slightest influence of the Hindu hodge-podge be allowed into his pure and perfect movement?  

6) “At the present moment in our ISKCON campus, politics and diplomacy has entered. Some of my beloved students, on whom I counted very, very much, have been involved in this matter, influenced by Maya.” Letter to Uddhava, 7-27-70

“ISKCON” means politics.  Where to begin?  Well, what about the political move to vitiate the GBC? The eleven had the most power in it, but, technically, were just one or two shy of having half the votes.  They strong-armed the others—one of whom had but a single temple in his zone (it was a thatched hut)—and, by sheer political might, they became instant Acharyas of the highest order.  Or what about the shrewd political move that resulted in the Scholar stealing away another more qualified godbrother’s given service?  What about the politics that went into the creation of the acharya-board?  What about the maneuver executed by two outcaste “ISKCON” gurus (the Topanga Canyon Talks) that allowed both of them to get their zones and diksa-guru statuses back? 

There are so many examples of political power plays post-1977 (and there were plenty more before that!), a whole article twice the size of this one could be devoted to the subject alone.  If you wanted to learn politics, there was no better place to get the experience than to become a member of the “ISKCON” Brotherhood (although, if you were sincere, then you would have had to have learned the hard way—by being the stick-kee). 

Politics is a legacy inherited by us from the animal kingdom; we see how brutal it is within the wolf packs and baboon troops there.  However, the two-legged animal—especially the one with tilaka on his nose and kunti beads on his neck—can really show you what is politics, because his intelligence has been sharpened by various tapasyas, yajnas, vratas, and association with the Acharya.  Has everything been spoiled by the uncountable political maneuvers ruthlessly (and especially) executed by the top echelons in the Brotherhood?  What do you think?

7)  Has plainclothes book distribution, which some time ago degraded and morphed into scamkirtan (using incense, then vikarmi records, then scarves, then mundane paintings, then bumper stickers, then candy canes, then anything-and-everything) produced, in terms of public relations, nothing more than a checkered record?  Did Prabhupada actually want this wigged plainclothes methodology—without tilaka, shaved head, and beads—to be introduced into his mission?  Check out the letters on this topic, and you will find that it was more or less forced upon him, i.e., he did not want it. 

Phalena-pariciyate: After all of the explosive competition, has not book distribution, particularly in America, now dwindled to a trickle?  Over and above that, what has been the reputation left upon the public (especially in terms of the change up) for all of this hardcore collection? Does not the man in the street immediately become sour upon seeing any plainclothes “Hair Krishna” pushing some gimmick for a donation?  As a result, is not the reputation of the “ISKCON” Brotherhood, particularly in America and Japan, spoiled beyond redemption?

8)  “Our duty is therefore to be very, very careful. The poison is personal ambition.” Letter to Satyabhama, 11-1-70.

“So, if instead of taking the training, if in my lifetime you people say ‘I am the Lord of all I survey,’ that is dangerous conspiracy.” Letter to Karandhar, 10-8-74

This is the root of the corruption, and he therefore said that it was his “only concern.” We can all now see why!  The seeds needed the soil, and Swami B. R. Sridhar provided that for them.  In a volcanic eruption of massive false ego and personal ambition, the eleven mad elephants trampled anything and everything that got in the way of their lust for profit, adoration, distinction, self-aggrandizement, and power.  Like weeping Atlas Cedars, they just needed to grow and grow and grow, no matter what they corrupted, took down, booted out on to the street, or just plain ruined. 

To say that there was no conspiracy involved in this is to be intentionally dull; conspiracies are not limited to specific circumstantial paradigms.  Of course the whole thing was—and continues to be—a dangerous conspiracy.  When something is poisoned, it is corrupted, ruined, and spoiled; sometimes it is destroyed immediately, sometimes not.  The means of production has been converted for the benefit of the “ISKCON” Brotherhood, and it now exists for the aggrandizement of less than two hundred people. 

A movement that was meant to be a house in which the whole world could have taken shelter has now been turned into something very much different. They did not take the training.  Instead, they wanted to immediately, without qualification, get all the adoration that Prabhupada fully deserved—and which they deserved not at all—and, by God, they made sure that they got what they wanted!

9) U.M.A. Gooma.  How often have we heard the cryptic phrase that encapsulates where the divine authority supposedly was infused after His Divine Grace disappeared?  The rittviks push “henceforward” and an unintelligent misinterpretation of the Will concerning the trustees.  However, the “ISKCON” Brotherhood always trumps them and always will trump them—and everybody else who overemphasizes the Will—by pushing U.M.A. Gooma: “ultimate managerial authority.” 

What kind of managers have they been?  Yes indeed, just as the abovementioned letter says: Nasty.  Nasty as in mean suckers.  Nasty as in dirt dog mean whenever the situation appears to require it.  But the authority of God is now in the GBC, don’t you know?  When the Acharya disappeared, he said, in his Will—according to their self-serving mal-interpretation—that the ultimate authority was now transferred to the governing body. 

So, they can be as deviant as they want—U.M.A. Gooma—they still are the ultimate managerial authorities.  They can be as nasty as they like—U.M.A. Gooma—they still are the ultimate managerial authorities.  You are committing guror-avajna if you do not accept. 

Well, guess what? Some of us don’t accept!  Some of us understand that this was placed into the Will for one purpose only, and we have all heard about it, viz., to prevent either his sons or the Mutt from taking possession of his properties after he departed.  Similarly, the stricture that all trustees had to be his initiated disciples was only for that same purpose.  The GBC has blown U.M.A. Gooma way, way out of proportion, and this is but a testament to their egregious display of self-serving insincerity. 

The ultimate authority actually rests in the pure and perfect writings in his books (now being grievously attacked).  The ultimate authority actually rests in the realized soul, especially if he is liberated in the true sense of the term.  The ultimate authority actually rests in the Holy Name. The GBC men, who are supposed to be the most equals in their superficially egalitarian “ISKCON,” have all become asara, just as were the prominent members of the two camps that divided up the Mutt in the late Thirties.

Every Prabhupada man knows what his intention was in his Will.  He succeeded in keeping his properties out of the hands of those who had no business controlling them.  His lieutenants and secretaries, in whom he entrusted the management, have squandered the legacy.  Their management has been unreliable, brutal, nasty, and full of prevarication.  Although there will always be a section that remains bamboozled by U.M.A. Gooma, people are catching on.  The whole edifice of the thing has been constructed upon the sand of an unauthorized and condemned arrangement; as such, management will not be able to be prosecuted nicely on any widespread basis.  Instead, expect more nastiness, as the personality of Kali is well on his way to ruining what was once a shining example of Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement of Krishna Consciousness.

What’s So ISKCON About “ISKCON”?

How can poison, administered to a healthy body, be called one with that body?  Is TM automatically one with the Krishna Consciousness movement because both entities are based upon teachings initially imported from India?  Let us return to a previous question: Is ISKCON one? Depending upon how you understand and answer it, the response can be in either the affirmative or the negative. Can the corruption element now dominating the movement (which we refer to as “ISKCON”) be considered one with ISKCON? 

We cannot agree with such a questionable idea, as it is both nonsensical and dangerous.  The duality of ISKCON and “ISKCON” has been known for years: Some have called the latter upa-ISKCON, some have called it GBC/ISKCON, others FISKCON, others IT’S-GONE, others IT’S-A-CON, others MISKCON, etc.

We choose to call it the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON.”

As such, there is ISKCON and there is “ISKCON.”  They are as different as the highest heaven and the lowest hell.  Now, is ISKCON one?  Well, yes it is—as long as you do not include “ISKCON” in it. 

Do not disingenuously claim that all of this is gibberish, too difficult to understand.  It must be understood!  It may be difficult to accept, but it is not difficult to comprehend.  Check that: It is impossible for the fanatics to understand—but we are not writing this article for them. 

When His Divine Grace talked about “another ISKCON” in the spiritual world, he was not introducing something at all compatible with “ISKCON.”  Instead, he was talking about just what he says it will be: Another ISKCON.  It won’t at all be like “ISKCON,” and, as far as that goes, it will also be quite different from what ISKCON was as well.

This issue is not utopian; it is practical.  We are not talking about existential difficulties here; we are talking about intentional deviation that continues unchecked.  Personally, I would prefer writers to at least use quotation marks around the acronym when they criticize it as a corrupt entity.  Things were not utopian when ISKCON was functioning in a bona fide way—there were problems regularly, some of them severe—but, back in the day, the spiritual connection was always there.

Such is not the case anymore when it comes to the covering and corrupting influence of the “ISKCON” Brotherhood, especially when considering its core GBC.  In summation, ISKCON is one, and “ISKCON” actually has nothing to do with it.  ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada, and since this is so, your author personally prefers to think of Srila Prabhupada rather than the acronym.  The triumphalists have a conception on the other side of the spectrum, but, let me assure both them and you—barring their being able to secure an unlikely government takeover—that “ISKCON” will not spread its vitiated propaganda to every town and village of the world.  Lord Caitanya’s movement will be spread—that is sure and certain—but that will never be accomplished by “ISKCON.”

Boon

“The money and society is yours. You can spend in any way, but it is my duty to give you guidance as ever well wisher.” Letter to Brahmananda, Satsvarupa, et. al.

“In 1977, Prabhupada told us, ‘Just have your meetings, and after five days give me all your resolutions.’ After five days of meetings, the GBC filed in his room, sat down, and read the resolutions. And, one after another, Srila Prabhupada said, 'No, I do not want that.  No, that is not what I wanted.’ He vetoed almost all the resolutions.” Guru Kripa prabhu, What Really Happened in 1977 and 1978

Sometimes, devotees have a hard time figuring out how His Divine Grace fits into everything now, due to what has gone down since his departure (and even well before it).  The subject is excruciating. 

We can only see exactly like a brahma realized soul if or when we are given continuous vision of the divine effulgence.  We can only see like the Paramatma realized soul—who is a liberated, self-realized soul in the true sense of the term--after we have first attained all twenty-three mystic powers.  Most importantly, we can only see like a mahabhagavat if or when we finally and perfectly realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His highest form and pastimes.  Despite our limitations, we can still attain a perspective on the abovementioned topic.

We must do so with higher intelligence (prajna).

If we do it with sincerity and seriousness, we may be lucky enough to get the understanding that Srila Prabhupada actually knew all of his disciples.  He saw them as pure spirit souls, and, when they properly and favorably served him in the beginning years, he saw their real selves ever so slightly emerging out of the unlimited muck of avidya.  As such, he was profoundly grateful to them, because, in any mass movement, the beginning is most difficult.  In other words, all of the students and workers who served His Divine Grace, without reservation in the beginning months and years of his mission, could be said to, in one sense, have formed the movement. 

Prabhupada could have taken a dramatically different route, and that would have entailed only training a handful (say, fifteen or so) of disciples, giving them constant association and intense, personal direction.  The goal of such a strategy would have been to create, from a section only within the group, a very limited number of fully realized devotees.  These would be pure devotees, who then would have been empowered immediately to initiate disciples themselves.  However, for reasons that also require intelligent analysis, he chose to go in an entirely different direction.  He created a mass movement, in which many thousands of later disciples (sometimes, we call these the rank and file or the downline devotees) were initiated as Srila Prabhupada’s direct students, generally through rittviks.

In many of these cases, direct physical association with their mahabhagavat diksha-guru was very limited, almost nonexistent for some.  However, in order to implement this transcendental design, a worldwide institution had to be formed, and that first required a core of dedicated workers.  For a variety of reasons, the formation of a mass movement has particularly rough sledding in the beginning stages, as Maya attacks it severely.

This international institution was indeed made manifest within a few years, and, by the beginning of the Seventies, it had gained a rather firm foothold.  Those original disciples who made this happen (as secondary doers or causalities) were the recipients of special benedictions from His Divine Grace, as they had given him transcendental delight by fulfilling his desire.  In some cases, he was even impressed with them.

As a result, all of them received special boons—in many cases, transcendental boons—as a reward for successfully undertaking the abovementioned task, in effect building something out of nothing (or next to nothing).  We see the fading remnants of these boons in so many of these big men even today, despite the fact that they have gone completely off the rails.  There is always free will, and even God Himself does not interfere with it.  The various benefits received from outstanding early service do not disappear overnight, even when egregious deviation gains the upper hand in any one individual later on.

Although there were exceptions to this, practically all of the laksmi that came into the institution was brought in via Prabhupada’s disciples (he facilitated that in a very subtle way).  Similarly, the incorporation activities and building purchases were mostly prosecuted by his disciples.  The overwhelming majority of literatures were distributed by his disciples. As temples expanded, it could not be expected that His Divine Grace would be in every one of them conducting the day-to-day management.  For as long as they remained bona fide (in the formative years of the movement), the initial contingent of active and often effective disciples received all kinds of knowledge, empowerment, character improvement, and pleasure through the via medium of the Acharya.

Those of them who have now been deviated are still being carried by those early benefits. However, although the boons had a spiritual connection in the beginning, their natures changed when their power was utilized for profit, adoration, distinction, and personal aggrandizement. 

In other words, they then came under the jurisdiction of time and, in due course, will come to an end. To concisely summarize this difficult topic, you can’t pin it on Prabhupada.

“However, one should not imitate the behavior of an advanced devotee or maha-bhagavata without being self-realized, for by such imitation one will eventually become degraded.” Nectar of Instruction, Verse Five, purport

Dog

“If a man gets some ministership in the government by worshiping a political leader, he considers that he has achieved a great boon. All of them are therefore kowtowing to the so-called leaders or ‘big guns’ in order to achieve temporary boons, and they indeed achieve such things.” Bhagavad-gita, 4.12, purport

In the summer of 1978, I was visiting some devotees in the Pacific Northwest.  One of them used to be a get-yer-motor-runnin’ hard guy, and he had seen a lot of pretension in the gangs he contacted.  The Zonal Acharya had recently blown through Seattle, and this devotee first came into contact with him there.  Upon that meeting, the “pure devotee” told this man, already initiated by Srila Prabhupada, to go out to the backyard of the temple and pick every single cherry off the tree back there.

Now, most of your author’s teenage life was spent in a northern state, in a county called Cherryland.  Each August, I would pick cherries every day (but Sunday), and it was grueling work.  So, I know a little bit about cherry picking.  Except for the low-hanging fruit, you had to use ladders.  Cherry trees are not strongly built, and you could only lean on the lowest branches, if you could lean on any at all.  One thing that you never attempted to do was to pick the cherries that were in the center at the uppermost crown of the tree.  You could not climb up there, because the branches would not hold you.  You could not maneuver the ladder close to the trunk, because so many branches prevented that.  The cherries at the upper centermost reaches of the tree were “for the birds.”

This former biker devotee attempted to fulfill the order he received and came close to breaking his neck.  He described this to me after that Zonal had already left for the Bay Area, concluding that he (that “ISKCON” guru) believed every desire running through his head was absolute.  Obviously, this now jaded fellow, who also witnessed the same guru coming through the kitchen (during bhoga preparation) and finger-sampling the food in advance, began to question what was really going on.

Right after the Zonal departed, another “ISKCON” guru arrived in the area; apparently, some devotees wanted him as their guru.  This other charismatic leader was notorious for his humble pie profile, and my new friend told me that he was able to secure a private “darshan” with him.  He asked the big man: “How is it that you are guru?” 

The “ISKCON” guru answered, “Yesterday, I was a dog.  Then, Srila Prabhupada appointed me as a guru, so now I’m guru.”

Well, he got it half right.

When the attitude of the congregation is surcharged with triumphalism, then securing the status of guru--by hook or by crook--becomes of paramount importance to those big dogs who are enamored by the opulence, power, and infatuation that accompanies a wave of fanaticism propelling the new dispensation.  However, simply attaining the post does not change a person’s character.  Almost everybody bought into the propaganda that Prabhupada appointed the eleven, but we all know better than that now.  When people who had not even approached the anartha-nivritti stage got caught up in the intoxication of being worshipped as sakshad-dhari, their doggish mentality was exponentially empowered and increased.  The superficial “reform” of the mid-Eighties did nothing whatsoever to ameliorate this.

Yes, they were and are still so “pukka,” in their dress, in their rituals, in their makeup, in their exchanges with one another.  And they exude an attitude of superiority as they cut this “pukka” profile.  Pukka You! All the conflict that these powerful individuals have unleashed upon the devotees over the years had been demonstrated beforehand in India, and Prabhupada warned us about it. [i] Initially, the big dogs of “ISKCON” were influenced to do all that they have done—and all that they are continuing to do—by the Mutt.   

Triumphalism is a Sickness

“Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has forecast that this Hare Krishna mantra will be heard in every nook and cranny of the globe. He is God, so it will happen. That is a fact. So, if we take advantage, then we may take the credit. But, if we do not, someone else will.” Letter to Karandhar, 11-4-70

 “One can’t believe in impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.  Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Thinking that there is anything beyond the Absolute Truth is one of the five kinds of ignorance, as confirmed in the Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi Lila, 1.102.  His Divine Grace never guaranteed that his ISKCON movement would triumph all over the globe. This fact—that he did not guarantee it—is confirmed in the letter to Karandhar reprinted above. 

How could he guarantee it?  There is always free will.  He gave us many a heads up about its misuse, especially how it could ruin his movement.  We have already provided thirteen quotations verifying this principle.  Srila Prabhupada gave us numerous warnings, so that we would be prepared to endure the catastrophe that has now overtaken us.

It is not possible for a movement led by mixed devotees in the lower modes to fulfill the prediction of Lord Caitanya.  Similarly, it is just as impossible for a movement led by sahajiyas to do anything but cover the teachings of Lord Caitanya.  Even “ISKCON” has admitted this.

We remember the late summer of 1987, before the INTERNET; it was one of those rare moments.  At that time, the propaganda rag for “ISKCON” was called The ISKCON World Review; perhaps some of you remember it.  I still probably have this particular edition somewhere in my files. 

We were in Petaluma when I read its editorial and was practically blown away.  Basically, everything that comes out of “ISKCON” is contaminated, and, if you have the right intellectual attitude, it is not very hard to see this.  However, some genuine honesty was present in this editorial, and, as such, it was indeed a very shocking piece.  This was not long after the assassination of Sulocan, the mid-Eighties reform (read, compromise), and the GBC throwing of one of their own back to sea.  Things were tearing at the seams, and, as a response to the dire situation, this editorial admitted that the movement publishing this monthly newspaper may not be the one that fulfills Lord Caitanya’s prediction in every town and village. 

In other words, “ISKCON” triumphalism was challenged in this piece.

Of course, nothing came of that, but it was a breath of fresh air at the time.  If you do not understand that triumphalism is a sickness, that it is an impediment, and that it does not please the parampara, then you have some work to do. We should individually always breathe transcendental fresh air, and this can only be accomplished by a change in attitude.         

A Question of Attitude

“Advancement in Krishna consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower.” Nectar of Instruction, Preface

“You write to say that you do not understand this movement, but, if you do not understand this movement after so many years, then when you will understand? You have been in this movement since the very beginning, and you say that you don't understand. How is that? And you have so many questions. That is all right, but you will go on questioning throughout your whole life and never understand. So what is the use of asking questions?” Letter to Umapati 7-9-71

“Yes, there’s be two worlds, Neptune. The Titanic sails at dawn.  Everybody shouting, ‘Which side are you on?’” Dylan, Desolation Row

There are those who are absorbed in “ISKCON” triumphalism, and there are those who abhor such a mentality.  Then there are those who are somewhere in between, walking the fence and in danger of slipping, whereupon they will castrate themselves into double crystallization.  If you are in transition and you would like to escape the clutches of the vitiated GBC, then you must be prepared to pay the price.

Payment is a universal principle, and it is a spiritual principle as well.  In order to get out from under their whammy, you have to change your attitude.  Yes, the mode of goodness is important here, but you should also understand the science of making this upgrade.  It first begins with a major change in your intellectual attitude.

Your intelligence must become attracted to the true message, to the historical facts, and to the realizations and happiness that accompanies their acceptance.  Your intelligence must admit the influx of higher influences, higher than those that accompany “ISKCON” triumphalism.  However, you will pay for this—if you actually make the change.  Your friends in the “ISKCON” Brotherhood will leave you.  Some of your relatives will leave your association; even your wife or your husband may abandon you.  All of the pecuniary arrangements that you had formed with any of them will quickly fall apart.  All of this will be seen as an attack by Maya—and, in one sense, it is so—but it should actually be seen as nature’s way of retrieving you from the entanglement of the corrupt GBC, from “ISKCON” triumphalism.  It should be taken as a benediction.

Instead of associating yourself with GBC propaganda, you will instead find that your intelligence is now attracted more to Prabhupada’s original books and to his recorded talks and letters.  No man is an island, so, in due course, you should best gravitate to better association—however, if you do so, the price becomes even more steep.  Some of your so-called friends and relations—the ones who are most attached to you—will deal with you in a very intense and unpleasant way.  It will be a big test.

If you are able to pass it, your intelligence will actually become firm, and Paramatma will arrange confirmation for all your realizations.  However, in order to be completely protected, you must go further than this.  After having upgraded your intellectual attitude, you must now use that higher intelligence to change the attitude of your mind.

Your must develop a healthy, positive mental attitude toward the devotees who are railing against the Machine, who are struggling to expose the “ISKCON” Brotherhood, the GBC, the rittviks, and neo-Mutt.  Then, you must develop a healthy negative attitude, a negative mentality, toward the vitiated GBC and its bogus gurus. [ii]

Do not claim that you cannot understand this.  You say that you want answers.  When the answers come your way, why don’t you accept them?  You bemoan the state of affairs in “the movement,” but are you making necessary personal changes in order to rectify the situation?  Before discussing an authentic forest, first there must be healthy trees. 

There is the side of pretense—represented by many groups at the current time--and then there is the side of those who have maintained the historical accuracy of the facts and have not fallen for any of the pretenses.  Things will stay grey for as long as you want them to; however, if you upgrade your mental attitude, that fog will soon dissipate.  No, this will not at all be appreciated by the “ISKCON” Brotherhood, and eventually you will be de facto ostracized by the GBC.  They are not like the Supreme Lord, and they do not represent Him.

You can be absolutely free from the influence of “ISKCON” triumphalism; it will no longer haunt you when you attain to this stage—and, yes, it is a stage of liberation.  However, you cannot come to this platform unless you first pay the price.  You are going to be hated by the people who you once thought loved you.  They will avoid your association (that is a key part of how Maya helps to relieve you from the entanglement).  They will calumniate you, and they may even dunk you into Shop Creek (shapa=curse). 

As long as you no longer believe in them, give them any money, or eat any of their food . . . er, “prasadam,” you should be in good shape.  If you can associate yourselves with devotees who have already paid the price--and perform some seva in collaboration with them--all the better.  You need to free yourself from the racket of the vitiated GBC and from all the bogus gurus, and especially from the equally bogus quasi-New Age sidereal astrologers by changing your mental attitude

The Paramatma will understand and appreciate your efforts, as will the devotees who are outside the walls of “ISKCON.”  Others will not.

GFBD: God Forgives; Brotherhood Doesn’t.

OM TAT SAT



[i] “Regarding the poisonous effect in our Society, it is a fact, and I know wherefrom this poison tree has sprung up and how it affected practically the whole Society in a very dangerous form. . . the great sinister movement is within our Society.”  Letter to Hansadutta, 9-2-70

 

[ii] “By a false display of religious sentiments, they present a show of devotional service while indulging in all sorts of immoral activities. In this way, they pass as spiritual masters and devotees of God. . . to mislead the people in general, they themselves become so-called acharyas, but they do not even follow the principles of the acharyas.  These rogues are the most dangerous elements in human society. Because there is no religious government, they escape punishment by the law of the state. They cannot, however, escape the law of the Supreme, Who has clearly declared in the Bhagavad-gita that envious demons in the garb of religious propagandists shall be thrown into the darkest regions of hell. Sri Isopanisad confirms that these pseudo religionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after the completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.” Sri Isopanisad, Mantra Twelve, purport

 

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Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust