When Tyranny is Disguised as Absolute Truth

(And Vaiñëavism Thus Betrays Itself)

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

March 27

Prabhupäda: He has taken these ideas from the Vedic literature.
Hayagréva: When this form degenerates, it becomes a tyranny.
Prabhupäda: Yes.
Dialectical Spiritualism, Critique of Plato

“. . . so-called dharmas, they are simply cheating, because that will not benefit anybody, the followers or the dictators.”
Platform Lecture in Bombay, 11-11-74

“The totalitarian mass leaders base their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that . . . one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day and trust that, if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism . . . they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

The fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation does not represent the vision of its great founder, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swami Prabhupäda. It does not represent the directions of its Founder-Äcärya, either. It enforces, often somewhat subtly, a tyranny of thought and, in that way, is a covert form of totalitarianism. It is aided and assisted by hegemonic fantasies and is now nothing more than a degenerating representation of what only appears to be Kåñëa consciousness. The mentality which is all-pervading in it actually serves to cover Kåñëa consciousness. Its ardent followers and initiated disciples—all causally injected with the “ISKCON” béja—admire and worship its leaders, and the “ISKCON” egregor thus flourishes on a teetering platform.

The greatest threat to the dominance of any totalitarian paradigm is schism. In “ISKCON,” some contentions have been brewing, and two of them now have the potential for creating a schism. Thus far, however, they have not done so. The actual schisms that have transpired in that movement went down in the Eighties: When Neo-Mutt crossed the river to split from “ISKCON” and when the criminal Moundsville tribe went its own way. The current conflicts in “ISKCON” are not as serious as those, being mostly diversions, little more than tempests in a teapot.

The peculiar “ISKCON” dharma can only effectively hue to its strategy of fix-it-as-you-go when it remains united, avoiding any damaging schism. Its strategy is to perpetually buy more and more time and thus wipe out the influence of real devotees, those who remember what Prabhupäda's movement was and, just as importantly, what it was meant to be. The manifestation of “ISKCON” tyranny requires complete power and control over its Deities, its corporate entities, and its loyal adherents. The principles and practices of its political system demand that there can only be one ruling faction, and that faction is the G.B.C. Party. It must control everything and everyone in “ISKCON” as the ultimate spiritual and devotional authority, so called.

Historical Revisionism Within a Regnant Orthodoxy

“Will you kindly let me know why you have suppressed so many facts? You have also not mentioned in the matter of Bon Mahäräja's preaching work: Why he was called back from this work in Europe, and why the Late Goswämé Mahäräja was sent in his place. If his preaching was successful, then why was he called back? Don't you know the history?”
Letter to Swämé Tértha (Kuïja Bäbu), 2-7-69

“If we divert our attention in this way, the whole thing will gradually deteriorate. . . Gradually, the Kåñëa Consciousness idea will evaporate: Another change, another change, every day another change. Stop all this! Simply have kértana, nothing else. Don't manufacture ideas.”
Letter to Sudämä, 11-5-72

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
George Orwell, 1984

“ISKCON” reality is not something ever-existing in its own right; its reality is whatever the G.B.C. says it is at the time. The confederation does not have a Ministry of Truth, but it might as well have one, because it ignores and overrides factual history whenever it suits The Party to do so. The demonstrable falsehood that Prabhupäda appointed eleven men as pure devotees, the demonstrable falsehood of geographic carve-outs for its “zonal äcäryas,” the demonstrable falsehood that rittviks automatically became dékñä-gurus once the founder-äcärya left the scene, and the demonstrable falsehood that Prabhupäda recognized the G.B.C. as infallible—all of these (and more) underpin an elite supremacy which commands reality control and tacitly denies anything which does not tally with that demand. Even when it is demonstrably wrong, it still claims to be ultimately right, and common sense to see through that illusion is considered deviant and heretical.

“ISKCON” lives in its own echo chamber, obviating the need for anything resembling historical accuracy. The cult leaders have no problem if their followers are distracted by so many nonsense things, just as long as they are unable to recognize their leadership's blatant contradictions. The books are being re-written, but the G.B.C. does nothing to stop it. Its institutional gurus are mostly rent-äcäryas, but the G.B.C. is not bothered at all by that. There is an alleged infallibility narrative underlying the whole thing, and, as such, all members must entertain beliefs that tally with an anodyne pseudo-paramparä pabulum which glorifies “ISKCON” history.

In reality, it is a dystopia riddled with big lies and smaller ones, with blatant lies and subtler ones, but the pseudo-devotees and sahajiyäs (who are members in good standing) never confront those lies; their own daily “reality” constitutes an approved “ISKCON” sub-bubble. Those people are always ready to believe every “ISKCON” absurdity, and, even when deceived, they are not bothered much by that—because, after all, every statement by everyone in Kali-yuga is a lie anyhow.

They enjoy the dislocation of their own history. In order to explain away any incongruities, the cult relies upon scapegoats, loose sub-narratives, and similar easy fixes that do not accord with historical fact. There is value to such confusion, especially for those in power. Everything can always be changed, molded, and updated, and the bewildering state of affairs in and around “ISKCON” always winds up serving the vested interests of its elites.

When a joint mess such as that one masquerades itself as perfectly representing the Absolute Truth—and falsely claims the power to link you to that Absolute—there will be negative consequences demonstrated in due course of time. An ever-widening polarization (now, an unbridgeable gulf) between the devotees who are all in and those who bravely speak out against 'ISKCON” deviations is but one of those consequences. Even while Prabhupäda was physically manifest, the first echelon mega-enjoyers never actually trained real spiritual or devotional leaders; they trained lackeys. This historical fact can only be directly known by those who tried to overcome it.

Nevertheless, the asphyxiating power of its post-modern princes can still be experienced by anyone who challenges their oligarchy from the inside. Such foolhardy souls will not remain on the inside for long, because no incremental reform can bear genuine fruit within such a fever swamp. “ISKCON” institutional collapse is only avoided by always refortifying the orthodoxy which created their unauthorized system in the first place.

Yet, history also presents us with a silver lining, especially when we remember how condemned the malcontents were when, in the late Seventies and early Eighties, they protested the hubris of the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats. Some of them, such as your author, went so far as to preach that none of those eleven men were genuine gurus at any level. What was radical blaspheme then is now accepted by the majority of Kåñëa devotees today, so to predict systemic failure of the current organization is not as radical now as it may first seem. Let the melodrama play out, and we shall, in all likelihood, realize that “ISKCON” has indeed neglected Santayana's warning.

A new and bona fide system needs to eventually emerge, but that will never be accomplished within a systemic fraud by allegedly reforming it. You will find this fact to be entirely liberating once you free yourself from any and all biases that prevent you from admitting it.

Questions and Answers

Q: How is it even possible that Vaishnavism can betray itself?

A: Although, from one perspective, you can say that Vaiñëavism is the monopoly of the pure devotees, from the preacher's perspective, its definition is more expansive, i.e., neophytes, mixed devotees, and even separatist mixed devotees are under the umbrella of Vaiñëavism. As far as the sahajiyäs are concerned, although they are closer to Mäyävädés and sense enjoyers, they can also, from an ultra-liberal perspective, be considered Vaiñëavas. Anyone who believes that Viñëu is God can be considered a Vaiñëava, as confirmed in the Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

Genuine Vaiñëavism entails ultimate elevation to the spiritual planets of the Supreme Lord. That is the essence Vedäntic personalism. According to that teaching, Vaiñëavism is meant to elevate all lower Vaiñëavas to a higher state, to pure devotional service. When that is the momentum present in a devotional movement, then Vaiñëavism is working as it is meant to function.

However, when the lower rungs of Vaiñëavism are able to drag down devotees at higher octaves--when neophytes drag down madhyams, when mixed devotees drag down neophytes, when separatists drag down mixed devotees (who do not have a separatist vision), and when sahajiyäs drag down mixed devotees--then Vaiñëavism is not functioning progressively. That is when it betrays itself.

Q: Can you specify the two current conflicts in “ISKCON” that could potentially produce a schism?

A: Those two conflicts are right-wing “ISKCON” versus left-wing “ISKCON,” and the authority struggle between “ISKCON” gurus against the executive bureaucracy managing the temples. These will be explained in the Q&A section of a future article.

Q: What does it mean when you say that those conflicts are actually diversions?

A: They are diversions, because they are nothing more than in-house politics ultimately serving to cover the root issues, which are never debated within the walls of “ISKCON.” Those two tempests in the confederation's teapot serve the cause of the “ISKCON” deviation, and followers become immersed in what they wrongly believe are the really pressing issues of the moment. Particularly in the Western world, the root issues are the ones actually checking the genuine Kåñëa movement from making any significant progress.

Q: What was Santayana's warning?

A: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Pseudo-Devotional Power Politics

(And Some Raw-Nerve Source Codes)

“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.”
Letter to Guru-Kåpä, 9-30-75

“I made the G.B.C. to give me relief, but, if you do like this, then where is the relief? It is anxiety for me. This is the difficulty, that, as soon as one gets power, he becomes whimsical and spoils everything. What can I do?”
Letter to Hansadutta, 9-12-74

“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” George Orwell, 1984

There is no need to come under the spell of any misconception concerning the power sources of “ISKCON,” because they are most definitely not philosophical. They are process (procedural) to some extent, but even that should not be overblown. Ultimately, it is all about overlording, viz., the “ISKCON” lords controlling their chelas. There is a hierarchy in that turtle tank, but we shall not delve too deeply into that topic here.

Control of Deities, along with Their opulent worship, produces power to overlord. Control of the means of production--the temples and all the facilities and amenities provided in and by them-- produces power to overlord. Control of the printing operations and the books (obviously, one and the same) produces power to overlord. Colorful rituals, ceremonies, and parades produce power to overlord. There is a power aura to all of these.

That aura can be cent-per-cent spiritual and devotional, but it is not necessarily so. It can instead be a semblance or a shadow of the real thing. Just as there is true and advanced bhakti (exemplified by His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda), there is also, as confirmed specifically in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the semblance (äbhäsa) of bhakti, and, lower than that, the shadow (chaya) of bhakti. When there is major philosophical deviation combined with direct disobedience to the orders of the Founder-Äcärya, these reflections result.

Again, this is a very complex, convoluted, and complicated topic; it cannot be adequately described in an article such as this one. Actually, it would be offensive to Lord Kåñëa to even attempt to do so, because too much confidential knowledge would have to be revealed in order to fully, or even adequately, discuss it threadbare. The INTERNET is open to all, but the Lord emphatically orders that confidential knowledge is not open to all:

idaà te nätapaskäya näbhaktäya kadäcana
na cäçuçrüñave väcyaà na ca mäà yo 'bhyasüyati

“This knowledge is never to be spoken by you at any time to anyone who is not austere, not a devotee, not engaged in bhakti and also never spoken to anyone who is envious of Me.”
Bhagavad-gétä, 18.67

Nevertheless, your author is giving you a glimpse of the raw-nerve source codes which under-gird the political power of “ISKCON” leaders. They know that neophytes are enamored by well-decorated Deities of the Lord, so they provide those at their main centers. Are all of those Deities actually installed? Of course not, but They are forms of the Lord, so we are not referring to any kind of idol worship here.

The Deities that Prabhupäda authorized to be installed are the Deities that are actually installed. After his disappearance, none of those “ISKCON” leaders—by that time, dominated by the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats—was authorized to actually install Deities in any temple anywhere. Yes, this is a raw nerve issue, but you might as well confront it now, because it is going to be confronted on a major scale in due course of time.

Ironically, near the end of his manifest presence, a Deity installation ceremony was held in Heidelberg against the express wishes of His Divine Grace. So, not every Deity installation that transpired during his time with us was bona fide, i.e., one was not.

Lenin emphasized control of the means of production when he overthrew the royal family (murdering them in cold blood) and forcibly created the world's first Communist government in 1917. The “ISKCON” leaders knew it well that they had to have complete control of all the temples and temple properties in order to pull off their scam. Although three of those were taken away, on the whole, they were successful in controlling the means of production. And, in those temples, the ritual, the ceremony, and the worship is conducted according to their dictates, which have not been bona fide since the spring of 1978.

That consideration is not important to them, because neophyte and mixed devotees—and certainly all of the Hindu hodge-podge revenue sources—are unable to recognize the difference. “ISKCON” leaders knew that in advance, and they also knew, over time (more quickly than they even imagined), they would be able to stock the temples with their own people. They did this, in no small measure, by driving out, directly or indirectly, those who were not enamored by their show-bottle spiritualism, i.e., those who believed the whole thing was a farce from the gate.

Classic Marxism propounds the proposition that a dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing more than the penultimate stage. In due course, after being fully implemented, it falls away, and everyone is uplifted to the same level, i.e., there is no more need of leaders. That is a pie-in-the-sky utopian pipe dream that will never come to pass, and various Communist dictatorships over the last century have proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Similarly, the mis-leaders of the “ISKCON” oligarchical dictatorship allegedly hold their power in order to create other advanced devotees (who they rule in the interim), training them to higher and higher states of purity and realization. Nothing like that has ever gone on, and nothing like that will ever go on, not in “ISKCON.”

Its power source codes weren't fully described here; your author is simply providing some hints. If you utilize intuition, your higher intelligence (prajïä), you will be able to explore this topic more fully within your own self—provided that you have enough devotional dedication and experience to do so. Everything is topsy-turvy in Kali-yuga, and the “ISKCON” upper echelons exploit that existential fact for the purpose of securing more and more power. The object of securing their power is simply to increase it.

They get off by expanding and amplifying their profit, adoration, distinction, and power propensities (all substitutes for physical sex pleasure) by taking advantage of what are ultimately basic principles. These are allegedly unapproachable, because it is supposed to be offensive to even deliberate on them. It is not at all offensive to do so, as long as they are seen and understood in the right way. Indeed, you need to actuate your own spiritual courage in order to confront “the unthinkable,” which really means that it is essential to understand the raw-nerve source codes for just what they are.

Absurdity's Horse Adorns the Sky

"This is ridiculous. Why they are dragging me into the management?
Now the Äcärya is meant for handling business?”
Letter to Spiritual Sky manager, August, 1974

“If the majority are fools and rascal,
if you say something sane, then they'll (say),
'The man, the sane man, he is insane. He's crazy.'”
Room Conversation, 11-3-76 in India

We can't be certain who the villains are, 'cuz everyone's so pretty.
Sheryl Crow
“There Goes the Neighborhood”

Faith in the messianic fantasies of well-dressed “ISKCON” leaders is a sure ticket to serial disappointment. Their proud, pukka profiles have produced many abstract compromises, buttressed by inflamed rhetoric (subject to change at any time), ultimately leaving us their Trojan Horse, viz., a legacy of intractable problems. The late-Seventies Diktatfrieden (that eleven pretender mahäbhägavats must be worshiped by godbrothers and godsisters) eventually gave way to the mid-Eighties Diktatfrieden of a collegial, ecclesiological institutionalism--and everyone was obliged to accept the new mandatum.

The world of “ISKCON” is a broken world, and it has been so for quite some time. It is just plain nuts. It is fundamentally opposed to the real system of guru and disciple, which is always forged within the matrix of that disciple's eventual self-determination, free from any and all institutional delusions. The governing commission was given a sacred trust, and, if it had upheld its mandate, then it would have been dovetailed to the Absolute.

Instead, it became a tyranny in disguise. It was then anything but representing the will of the Founder-Äcärya, who himself was perfectly linked to the Absolute Truth. It has become a covert kind of criminal enterprise, and so many villainous activities have been able to prosper within the super-structural framework it created over time.

How can you petition it for redress of wrongdoings which are ultimately of its own making? There will be no reform within “ISKCON.” There cannot be, because the G.B.C. is at the root of all the deviations that have degraded the Hare Kåñëa movement of Kåñëa consciousness. “ISKCON” is very pukka when it comes to its well-dressed Deities. Its sannyäsés are brightly adorned in their garbs, as well. Such a nice movement on the exterior, but you subject yourself to an insane paradox if you therefore believe that such pukka leaders (by outward dress) must necessarily be really good and spiritually advanced men.

“ISKCON” has degenerated into a tyranny. It has betrayed Prabhupäda, and it has betrayed you. It is a cheating dharma made up of cheap gurus and cheap disciples. It does not represent the vision or directions of Çréla Prabhupäda. It will not in the future, and it only appears confusing if you choose to allow yourself to be confused by it.

OM TAT SAT

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