Old Brave New “ISKCON”
By Kailäsa Candra däsa
Article Two, Section Two: “ISKCON” Existentialists Break the Paramparä
Fourth of a Six-Part Series
“Therefore, the breaking of the sanätana-dharma tradition by irresponsible leaders of society brings about chaos in that society, and consequently people forget the aim of life: Viñëu. Such leaders are called blind, and persons who follow such leaders are sure to be led into chaos.” Bhagavad-gétä, 1.42, purport
“When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation.” Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi Lélä, 12.9, purport
“ .. . all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with him. . . If God (doesn’t) exist, everything would be possible--that is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist. . . " Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism
Just as Lord Kåñëa spoke the Bhagavad-gétä to his disciple Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra and thus established a line of disciplic succession, similarly, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda spoke to his Western disciples in the Sixties and Seventies. By so doing, he established a branch of the disciplic succession known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudéya Vaiñëava sampradäya. The continued viability of His Hare Kåñëa branch of Kåñëa consciousness was dependent upon his disciples—particularly, his leading secretaries—following his directions and teachings perfectly.
They were enjoined not change them or warp them or misinterpret them or exploit them for the purpose of satisfying personal ambitions, but to keep the tradition he established free from deviation. Anything and everything in the name of Kåñëa consciousness preaching (read, expansion of the numbers) was and is not permissible. Any materially concocted idea entering his movement—often in the name of time, place, and circumstance--was and is immediately tantamount to breaking the orders of the spiritual master, Çréla Prabhupäda. Upon his disappearance from manifest existence, the irresponsible leaders of “ISKCON,” unwittingly created an apa-sampradäya that has gained prominence over the last thirty-four years. That new line broke his branch by infiltrating various subtle and egregious deviations, thus leading thousands of his disciples and followers into chaos.
All emphases added for your personal edification and realization
The Bhagavad-gétä, accepted as it is and as it was given to us by His Divine Grace, is a great boon to human society, especially since it comes to us in disciplic succession. However, when the secession emerged in the form of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, even Prabhupäda’s Bhagavad-gétä translation was changed, in hundreds of places. Thus, the afore-mentioned leading secretaries have dissipated the real line’s value for their own personal aggrandizement, and, based on many concoctions and personal whims, have established their own values and interpretations of Kåñëa consciousness. These leading secretaries never really believed that the books, disciples, vehicles, temples, and properties of Çréla Prabhupäda’s Society were actually his. After he left, flourishing in egregious fashion, they became uber-narcissists and enjoyers of this property.
The “ISKCON” Disciplic Secession
“Kirtanänanda may be eager to address in the Harvard University, but recently he has lost his link on account of disobedience. . . Very recently, Kirtanänanda has developed a different consciousness of mäyä, which is called misuse of one's minute independence offered by Kåñëa. By misuse of one's independence, one at once becomes a victim of mäyä . . . his lecture anywhere now will bear no spiritual sequence. . . By lips he says that he is a surrendered soul, but by action, he is thinking differently.” Letter to Satsvarüpa, Oct. 6, 1967
“Now, there are so many apa-sampradäyas. They do not come in disciplic succession, but (he) becomes guru, teacher. Therefore, everything is topsy-turvied. . . Everyone has created his own philosophy. The whole thing is now confused.” Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, 13.8, Sept. 30, 1973 in Bombay
“Carnival dogs consume the lines . . . “ Jim Morrison, The Doors
The most dangerous elements of the universe can be compared to sharks. Even though one may be an expert swimmer, he cannot survive in the ocean while being attacked by sharks. We have seen the first-echelon leaders of “ISKCON” advertise themselves as spontaneous gurus, competent to help others cross the ocean of nescience. In actuality, they are often exposed to be victims of their own senses. Instead of helping their chelas and followers, such sahajiyäs had, long ago, fallen prey to mäyä--represented by läbha, püja, and pratiñöhä--and were thus devoured by sharks in the bhäva-sindhu, the ocean of material emotions. However, since misery loves company, in the process of going down, they devoured everyone and everything they could, in order to enjoy themselves more fully.
These rogues were and remain the most dangerous elements in human society, but they are artificially adored and worshipped by third-echelon triumphalists and foolish followers, some of whom believe that they have been initiated into spiritual life. Actually, due to offenses, degradation, and misuse of human brainpower, they are carnival dogs. This is not recognized by foolish people, however, some of whom even glorify them.
It is the intrinsic nature of occult existentialism to create essence out of existence, on the postulate that only existence precedes essence, i.e., there is no original spirit soul previous to any man coming into existence. This mentality is highly prone to narcissism, self-apotheosis, and, in extreme cases, even solipsism. A man deluded by this identification considers that he can become whatever he wants and do whatever he wishes. Others who fail to share his beliefs and identification are considered by him to be only deserving of his manipulative enjoyment at every turn.
The leaders of “ISKCON” have proven over the last few decades that they have this mentality. They have not allowed the strictures promulgated by Prabhupäda via his newly-created tradition in the West to impede them; they have simply created their own disciplic line—although it cannot actually be called that in the true sense of the term. The “ISKCON” disciplic secession has both divorced and obscured Prabhupäda’s movement; as expected, it did not allow his branch to survive—that would have been unconscionable. Instead, it changed and covered it.
They seceded by creating their own union, although the unity thus attempted by them has undergone severe tremors and turmoil over the years. The changes within that Society since the late Seventies, sometimes both gradual and subtle, have now become quite apparent. The Hinduization of “ISKCON” is but one of those. Nevertheless, an in-house, sophisticated form of slavery still festers unchecked within that apa-sampradäya.
“ISKCON” is new and different, granted, but only the naive think that it is spiritually progressive. “ISKCON” exists for the enjoyment of its leaders, although it also has an astral existence outside of, and invisible to, those very leaders. It thus devours them just as they devoured Prabhupäda’s movement, and all this is rightly done. “ISKCON” is highly existential, and it must remain so, because eternal, individual essence cannot be rejuvenated through the parameters of its paradigm. Its leaders prove that they are gurus, because they act as gurus within their newly-created matrix, i.e., they are worshipped as gurus there, accept disciples (initiating them—with what?), and are approved there by the Governing Body Commission. On the path of occult existential aggrandizement, vanity and pride permeates everything in their cult.
In this way, these leaders prove that they have become gurus, because they manifest the concrete reality of doing certain things. They do these things—and you do not, i.e., they are gurus--and you are not! This is supposed to mean that they have achieved essence, although, in point of fact, the concept is a pillar of sahajiyism, as pointed out in the previous Section.
On Finding the Right Lies
“Don't be allured by cheap disciples; go on steadfastly to render service first. If you immediately become guru, the service activities will be stopped . . . as there are many cheap gurus and cheap disciples, without any substantial knowledge--and manufacturing new sampradäyas and with service activities stopped and all spiritual progress choked up.” Letter to Acyutänanda, Aug. 21, 1968
“It is in order to deceive the disciples.” Swämé B. R. Srédhar, Navadvépa, 1978
“In all of my years in public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I could say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.” Richard Nixon press conference, Nov. 17, 1973
Existentialists of all varieties—including both secular and occult existentialists—emphasize that life must be lived free from the influence of the inauthentic. They say that inauthentic existence is criminal, in the sense that one deludes himself by floating through life, without making and living it according to significant choices. They contend that inauthentic life is self-delusion and a rejection of man’s inherent freedom to become whatever he decides (this would then be called his essence). Hardcore existentialists form their own lines, as there is no strong tradition in this philosophy.
In the occult existentialism practiced by the “ISKCON,” its top guns want all the people to know that they are genuine—and, as such, that they should never be lumped in with any other tradition or any other cult, particularly in the Western world. Paradoxically, their line is both individualistic and highly regimented. It is a systemic organization (which undermines individuality), a cunning movement brandishing alleged universal logic, and a dehumanized concept. At the same time, it is highly individualistic, unorthodox, specific, unique, and especially an exaltation of select men, who have apparently achieved topmost nobility in its sphere.
The paradox can be resolved. The fact is that “ISKCON” is heavily bifurcated. This started in a big way in the spring of 1978. Without authority, eleven pretender mahäbhägavats bifurcated the authority of the Governing Body Commission. Twenty-four commissars were present at the meeting, and those eleven pretenders did not have the votes to override them—but they did not have to do so. The thirteen other commissioners were not united, and at least some of them were intimidated.
As such, the Äcärya Board was created--completely unauthorized. The eleven zones were created--completely unauthorized. Those eleven were recognized as mahäbhägavats, which they were anything but. The eleven were said to have been appointed by Prabhupäda as dékñä-gurus, although there was not any strong evidence to this assertion.
In other words, there has always been—especially since that time—a predator elite recognized in “ISKCON,” which became a Society of the cheaters and the cheated, of the haves and have-nots. That continues to this day. There are those recognized as great, and those who must serve the great. There is hardly a middle-class in “ISKCON,” although those who give big donations are afforded some status within a grey area.
Deception permeates the cult, in every facet and at every level. The corrosive influence of the bogus gurus and the vitiated G.B.C. stops at nothing. For the elite, all things are judged in terms of their pleasures. When God is central, man is small, but such is not the case in “ISKCON.” Occult existentialism makes its big dogs central, and, when they are worshipped—and such is strongly encouraged throughout that movement—it is actually a form of self-centered idolatry. Occult existentialism revels in this.
However, in order to keep the thing propped up, various lies have to remain sacrosanct. Thus, only cheap disciples actually are hoodwinked by the thing, because cheap gurus—and all of the gurus of “ISKCON” are just that—cannot hold the allegiances of sincere and serious people (especially when they contact real knowledge and actual facts). Secular existentialists insist that a dedicated existentialist not deceive himself, but there is no injunction against him deceiving others, especially when that serves his purposes and furthers his decision. “ISKCON” gurus, although they are not spiritual masters, are indeed masters of deception, as are all warlocks.
They like taking calculated risks, even though such acts sometimes skirt the border of criminality. They are all criminals as far as universal management is concerned (the demigods). Still, since their worshippers consider them to be gods, “ISKCON” leaders have not the slightest inclination to disabuse them of this notion. These men fancy that they have escaped the confines of the finite, conditioned self by fixing before development—of course, they have forgotten that they made that leap a long time ago. They thus brainstorm, coming up with effective lies to keep their cult propped up, knowing full well that all of the dominoes could topple at any moment, given the right circumstances, culminating in a complete dismantling.
They become expert at deceiving their disciples, deceiving their godbrothers (those who remain duped), deceiving the lower echelons, and, most importantly, keeping the third-echelon triumphalists amped up, believing that “ISKCON” is destined to take over the world. Cheap gurus and cheap disciples aren’t supposed to be able to do any such thing, but, considering how degraded humanity has become in this age, anything is possible. Indeed, that is a chief tenet of existentialism, and these “gurus” become even more enthusiastic when they consider this fact. After all, they are all honest men in the eyes of their disciples, who could never believe for a moment that their leaders are actually crooks.
Movement in the Wrong Direction
“The proprietor of an establishment is not responsible for the right and wrong activities of the workers, but the workers themselves are responsible.” Bhagavad-gétä, 4.14, purport
“Our duty is, therefore, to be very, very careful. The poison is personal ambition.” Letter to Satyabhäma, Nov. 1, 1970
“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself . . . Thus existentialism’s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him. . . You’ve got to take things as they are. Moreover, to say that we invent values means nothing else but this: Life has no meaning a priori. It’s up to us to give it meaning, and value is nothing else but the meaning that you choose.” Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism
It is not that everything propounded by “ISKCON” is wrong, it is that everything pushed by this cult traps its adherents at all levels, impelling them to move in the wrong direction. The foundation of both secular and occult existentialism is found in an illusory individual essence, a so-called self, absorbed in the here and now within its own insular world. “ISKCON” preaches that Western man is in a state of utter illusion, and every devotee agrees with this. Nevertheless, the members of “ISKCON” continually misuse freedom, both individually and collectively; they escape spiritual responsibility, substituting it for this illusion: That their tickets to the eternal world have already been punched by their service to so-called great leaders reputed to be the sole representatives of Çréla Prabhupäda.
“ISKCON” has created its own value system, which is a perverted reflection of the values promulgated by His Divine Grace. Like the existentialists, its leaders believe that they can rubber stamp the perfect man, first by appointment, then by votes, then by avoiding vetoes, and finally via a No Objection Certificate. Just as Sartre and Camus did not believe in an essential entity previous to existential man, “ISKCON” gurus do not believe that they have to overcome their own fruitive beings. Instead, they believe that they achieve essence by securing a position on the vitiated G.B.C. and/or being an institutional guru approved by the Commission.
There are no first principles in existentialism, and, for all practical purposes, the same thing now holds true in “ISKCON.” All current principles there are subject to being amended or outright changed by the G.B.C. at any time. The unstated motto of those at the top is: “My individuality first; everyone else second.” Of course, all such narcissism must avoid censure by the G.B.C., but once an “ISKCON” leader reaches an optimal level, such avoidance is easier to achieve than you might think.
His Divine Grace is not responsible for any of this; he never was, and he never will be. That the G.B.C. has determined, falsely, that it decides what is the Truth is its own wrong choice. That the G.B.C. made itself the final standard of an irreducible reality is its own existential decision, made many moons ago. It cannot evade the responsibility that comes with that decision, although it makes every effort to do so whenever there is a breakdown, i.e., it is expert at finding scapegoats. Of course, those poor fellows have to take the fall only because they refuse to kowtow to the G.B.C., which is actually to their transcendental credit. That they are seldom if ever appreciated for this minimal bravery, albeit far too late, is just part of the vikarmic reaction that attaches itself to close association with “ISKCON.”
As we have pointed out repeatedly in our articles, its chief nescience centers around U.M.A.-GUMMA, i.e., the idea that the G.B.C. is the ultimate authority of Kåñëa consciousness. The point of raw nerve can be found in the Will in terms of a three-word descriptive, viz., “ultimate managerial authority.” The G.B.C., in its self-serving way, claims that “managerial” applies to everything at every level.
However, the marma or core of their illusion is that the authority invested by Prabhupäda in the G.B.C. was infallible; in point of fact, such was certainly never the case. That the Commission was always provisional can be proven from his letters. It can also be demonstrated by the Direction of Management document, as well as by his suspension of the G.B.C. in April, 1972. Since these two topics have been covered elsewhere, let us take a look at some excerpts from just seven of his letters:
1) “G.B.C. members are simply to see that things are going on. Other centers have got president, secretary, etc. and they are managing separately. That is the formula. So how is it that the G.B.C. are the final authority? They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely, that is all.” Letter to Umäpati, July 9, 1971
2) ”The president, treasurer, and secretary are responsible for managing the center. G.B.C. is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of G.B.C. . . A G.B.C. member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power.” Letter to Giriräj, Aug. 12, 1971
3) “I am so much perplexed why you all had done this. I have appointed originally twelve G.B.C. members, and I have given them twelve zones for their administration and management, but simply by agreement you have changed everything.” Letter to Rüpänuga, Apr. 4, 1972
4) “What will happen when I am not here: Shall everything be spoiled by G.B.C.?” Letter to Hansadutta, Aug. 11, 1972
5) “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, Sept. 12, 1974
6) “But the difficulty is that our G.B.C. men are falling victim to Mäyä.” Letter to Jayatértha, Dec. 16, 1974
7) “Now has the G.B.C. become more than Guru Mahäräja? As if simply G.B.C. is meant for looking after pounds, shilling, pence. The G.B.C. does not look after spiritual life. That is a defect.” Letter to Älanätha, Nov. 10, 1975
Here we can clearly see that Prabhupäda never recognized G.B.C. as possessing ultimate or all-encompassing authority, and this truth applied and applies both during his manifest presence and afterwards. He noted that its members were themselves regularly falling victim to Mäyä, and that they were not concerned to look after spiritual life--either for themselves or for those who they were overlording. He said they were whimsical and could thus spoil everything; this appears now to be a prediction.
He noted specifically that the G.B.C. had to act collectively within the sphere of its authority; something that is Absolute has no such restriction. The Board was actually little more than a watchdog, meant to see that things were going on nicely throughout his movement. He directly stated that, on at least one occasion, the Board, by mutual agreement (via its votes), had changed everything. Do any of these statements in the excerpts indicate that His Divine Grace recognized the G.B.C. as infallible and absolute?
Obviously, occult existentialists would not at all be content to accept such a crimp placed upon them—and, it must be pointed out, if they are members of any so-called commission, that that board must also not be restricted in its absolute power. They do not want the subjectivity of their full self-expression--enjoined by occult existentialism and buttressed by so many outrageous decisions over the decades--to be impeded by anyone, especially by those who they believe are meant only to be ruled over by them. The essence of the self, according to both secular and occult existentialism, must be created and expressed through the medium of decision only. Once that commitment is made, it must be proven as real. The “ISKCON” big dogs believe that they have made this decision and nothing must be allowed to get in the way of it--objective evidence to the contrary be damned!
The real devotee is supposed to be engaged in clearing off the dust from the mirror of his mind. In order to accomplish this, he must continually humble himself before the absolute person, his guru. He must accept his guru’s orders as constituting all right decisions. Existentialism propounds an entirely different view, viz., that once you make your decision—once you decide who you are (your so-called essence)—then nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of carrying out that choice.
This is not the Kåñëa conscious standard, and the “ISKCON” leaders, who have allowed this weed to egotistically flourish, must be exposed. They are not heroes, and we have not forgotten what they have done. They must pay for what they have done. They must come to understand that the overwhelming majority of their decisions have been unauthorized, and that they deserve no credit whatsoever for forcing those onto anyone:
“But if he makes the wrong decision, what is the value of his action? Moths fly very valiantly and courageously into the fire. Is that a very good decision?” Prabhupäda, Critique of Sartre
Wet Stool, Dry Stool
“The conception that there are things auspicious and inauspicious in the material world is more or less a mental concoction because there is nothing auspicious in the material world. Everything is inauspicious because the very material nature is inauspicious. We simply imagine it to be auspicious.” Bhagavad-gétä, 10.3, purport
“Just like wet stool and dry stool. Stool is stool, but somebody is saying that wet stool is better than dry stool. What is this good and bad? The top side of some stool is dry and the bottom side is wet, but anyway that you take it, the material world is stool, and it must be given up.” Letter to Dr. Wolf, May 20, 1976
Mr. Orange: (moaning on the floor
while covered in blood).
The real ISKCON movement has been gone for quite some time. Whether it is covered (like a diamond inside a mountain of coal) or whether it has been ruined and spoiled (like a rotten apple) is another discussion for another time, mostly academic. “ISKCON” is an organized religion, heavily Hinduized, and it must be recognized for just how spiritually useless and potentially dangerous it really is.
GeorgHegel considered the function of organized religion to be a by-product of social expediency, and this eventually came to be known as White Communism in Western Europe. After seeing past what outwardly appeared to be righteousness, he considered organized religion promoting a class struggle--hidden behind a veil of apparent piety—exemplified by what we would now call the “pukka” profile. The notorious brähmaëas of later Vedic times were compared by him to the bourgeoisie of his day, feeding off the labor of the lower classes. Hegel saw the ultimate issue in human society to be a struggle between the hierarchical haves versus the have-nots, the exploiters versus the exploited, i.e., those who were lower on the totem pole in that warped Vedic culture.
We should learn a lesson concerning this, i.e., we should see the trees coming toward us in advance by sitting with our backs to the caboose. We should not be content to merely see the trees perfectly after they have already passed; it is time to face forward! The occult existentialists of “ISKCON” will adapt to any situation in order to overcome the consequences they have generated—this will be advertised as improvement. We must not allow such superficial manifestations to bewilder us. Just because one of their gurus is now distributing books printed by Kåñëa Books, Inc., rather than the unauthorized BBT(i), that should not be cause for celebration as some kind of an outstanding improvement.
In the mid-Eighties, during the height of the Second Transformation, the “ISKCON” gurus agreed to abandon their high, opulent seats. Also at that time, dealings became a bit more civilized. Nevertheless, the pulse of thing changed little, if it changed at all. It is high time to abandon the “Somehow or Other” shibboleth, e.g., somehow or other, the spiritual authority of the G.B.C. has still continually functioned, despite so many egregious deviations. Somehow or other, all the new people are genuinely initiated, even if one or more of their so-called dékñä-gurus have left (in order to relish rasa more fully with a paramour they had been enjoying the whole time). Somehow or other, things will work out, and our movement (“ISKCON”) will spread its influence to every town and village throughout the world!
Prabhupäda said that we must remain pessimistic about the material world and optimistic only about the spiritual world. The “somehow or other” shibboleth is cent-per-cent integral to the material world. The bovine exception aside, there is neither purity nor value in dry stool; we should stop rationalizing that “ISKCON” will “somehow or other” turn the corner and become pure and wonderful.
The Illusion of the End
“As Jaimini seemingly upheld Vedic authority—but, practically, propounded a warped version of the Vedic conclusions—similarly, Mäyävädé gurus present Vedic proof to establish their covert Buddhism. Thus, they obscure the essence of the Vedas, which is the science of devotional service.” Bhaktivinode Thäkur, Çré Harinäm Cintämaëi
“Things can reach a state of Breakdown greater than themselves. That is to say, they can attain a degree of impairment at which their existence has less value than a zero-existence, a state where replacement has become a maleficent temptation.” Macedonio Fernandez
Randall Bragg: I told ya, Sheriff, you’d never hang me.
In the mid-Eighties, one G.B.C. man asked his godbrother, a charismatic guru who had had his zone taken away and was, at the time, shacked up with his own disciple, if he had reached the bottom yet. The former “ISKCON” guru, known for his quick wit, forthrightly replied, “It's bottomless, isn't it?” The uncountable offenses by “ISKCON” have a long way to go before they play out, and anyone refusing to see this simply drags out his own illusion. If you continue to hope against hope that this cult’s darkness is, somehow or other, going to dissipate soon, guess again!
The killer “ISKCON” source code works institutionally to obscure the Absolute Truth, primarily transmitted through the influence of its leaders, virtually all of whom are saturated with its viruses and trojans. When we accept “ISKCON” as our guide, we, in effect, reject both Çréla Prabhupäda and the Supreme Control of the Personality of Godhead. As a result, our lives become chaotic, at least eventually.
We have seen, beyond doubt, the chaos that “ISKCON” has generated over the years. Will the vikarmés come to believe that this cult can set for them a perfect standard and thus free them from a continued sordid history? Stranger things have happened in the course of Kali-yuga, and we shall take up this topic in the last two sections of this six-part series.
Existentialism propounds that man has no definite nature but is engaged--if he is genuine and free from self-deception--in continually creating it. This is what is going on also in “ISKCON,” especially at its topmost echelons. When we follow the Supreme Authority, we depend upon revelation, not upon our own efforts. Although they will rarely if ever express it, “ISKCON” leaders consider anyone thinking like this to be ultimately unimportant, unable to accomplish anything significant. However, the truth is that no sane man is ever useless, i.e., it is sane to follow real authority and insane to follow the “authorities” of “ISKCON.”
As long as the bhakti-siddhänta and process are accepted in toto, it is not that everything propounded by existentialists is unable to be dovetailed into Kåñëa consciousness. Existentialists believe that the self (essence) is re-created from commitment to commitment, from act to act. A method similar to this can be dovetailed in Kåñëa consciousness, as long as secular existential philosophy is rejected. There are eternal rules, and there is an eternal process. The Absolute Truth is not discovered by creating it; the Absolute Truth must, by degrees, be revealed. Paradox is not honored in Kåñëa consciousness as it is in classic existentialism; at the same time, Lord Kåñëa Himself is a repository of inconceivable contradictions.
The absolute process of revelation is cent-per-cent dependent upon clearance of impurities covering the mind, culminating in the emergence of one’s pure, spiritual mind. This process employs the analogy of a mirror:
“When the senses are purified by the discharge of pure devotional service (håñékeëa håñékeça-sevanaà bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]), the pure senses can see Kåñëa without covering. Now one may inquire that since factually the devotee has the same material existential body, how is it possible that the same materialistic eyes become purified by devotional service? The example, as stated by Lord Caitanya, is that devotional service cleanses the mirror of the mind. In a clean mirror one can see one's face very distinctly. Similarly, simply by cleansing the mirror of the mind, one can have a clear conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 4.3.23, purport
In its own way, “ISKCON” is a mirror image (pun intended) of its host Western culture. Indeed, the analogy of the carnival is appropriate here. In the late Seventies, there was great congregational praise for the Moundsville Vanity Fair showbottle that had manifested. An attraction to the carnival atmosphere was, at that time, established throughout “ISKCON.” In carnivals, you will find the Fun House. The featured entertainment in the Fun House is the room full of warped mirrors. The warped mirror makes you see yourself differently, but it does not actually reveal anything. The material world is like this, and so is “ISKCON.” Those unfortunate chelas who are remain duped by the cult are mistaking visions from its Fun House for revelation. Time to smash the mirror!
Your leaders have set a standard by which they relish much freedom at your expense, i.e., living off your hard work in combination with the fleecing of the Western Hindoo. Since your leaders place all this value on independence, why not act on it yourself? You can be absolutely free, but only if you want to be. Why do you stay there and allow yourself to be exploited?
Existentialists maintain that we all must seek our own answers in an absurd world full of constant confrontation. Have you actually escaped that absurdity in your “ISKCON” cult? If you answer honestly, you will admit that you have not, that you are always in a state of dread: What’s going down next? If the self cannot find any real ground outside of its own self, why are you thinking that you can actually secure shelter under an institutional guru? You will remain continuously incomplete in “ISKCON,” because that is what your leaders can best exploit to their own advantages.
Self-realization and spiritual life are not dependent upon foreign revenue within some temple confine controlled by third-echelon fanatics, self-interested temple presidents, and a roving predator elite. Show some courage. If you have never visited “ISKCON” in the first place, stay away. If you want to become an occult existentialist, a witch, or a warlock, you don’t need “ISKCON” to train you in this.
In the late Seventies, that movement was like a juggernaut in the West--for a while anyway. The thing is breaking down, and the speed by which it is now devolving has picked up. Over time, that cult has clearly degenerated, and, if its inmates are now anything more than präkåta-bhaktas, that would be quite glorious for them. If you want to realize the glories of your true self, you can do so. Let Paramätmä show you the way. That way will be the path of genuine mysticism, not occult existentialism. It will take time, especially due to those contaminated astral seeds you have absorbed from impure association. The decision to leave may be a now or never moment, but, in terms of the spiritual process, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
To Be Continued
Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust