GBC: The Gods Who Failed

By Kailasa Candra dasa

“One should very carefully avoid associating with both the sahajiyas, who are sometimes known as Vaisnavas, and the non-Vaisnavas, or avaisnavas. Their association changes the transcendental devotional service of Lord Krishna into sense gratification, and when sense gratification enters the mind of a devotee, he is contaminated.”  Cc., Antya 6.278

This is one of the heaviest statements or commentaries ever made by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.  What he is clearly saying here is that the devotional service of the Supreme can itself be changed—mid-stream, so to speak—into sense gratification.  Put in another way, the commentary forcefully indicates that Yogamaya can be converted into Mahamaya.  This principle is not well known, although Prabhupada had previously given a hint about it in his Bhagavad-gita:

“They also have partial independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they come under the sway of lust.”  Bg, 3.39, purport.

All emphases in this article added for your edification and realization

The process of devotional service is meant to turn lust back into love of Godhead, as per this:  “If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Krishna consciousness—or, in other words, desiring everything for Krishna—then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized” Bg, 3.39, purport.  That principle is better known, although the processes that are alleged to be applying it are highly questionable now, especially in the West. 

Our real process is nivritti-marga, because we cannot re-enter the spiritual realm if we still have material desire; we have to get all of that out of our astral body and then dissolve the linga-sarira as well.  Nivritti-marga, especially when it is trodden in Krishna consciousness (sadhana-bhakti-yoga or acting and serving under the working principles of buddhi-yoga) intrinsically entails the elimination of all material desires in the practitioner who is actually on it.

You can say that new files, folders, and programs must also be added, and we would not disagree.  However, unless those inputs are cent-per-cent spiritual and transcendental, they are not ultimately helpful.  Whether many or only a few of them (and only in a bona fide way) are added or not, the nonsense files, folders, drivers, and programs must be eliminated from the machine of the astral body.  That is the process of nivritti-marga in Krishna consciousness.  Krishna consciousness is not a process meant for material enjoyment.  A bit of such enjoyment is allowed in the beginning—some call this the principle of economy—but all such happiness must be transcended at the end.  In other words, the path of pravritti-marga contains a pulse that is, in the final calculation, not at all favorable to the highest spiritual reintegration; it must therefore be eschewed.

Pravritti-marga, in the proper sense of the term, is connected to the karma-kanda of karma-mimamsa.  A genuine guru in that line is required in order to successfully prosecute it, and its rituals and regulations are not so easy.  It is not a path meant for bhaktas, however, because its goal is the heavenly planets.  These are supposed to be attained after its practitioner has enjoyed himself here according to strict pravritti rules and regulations.  It is Vedic, no doubt, but it does not represent the essence or cream of the Vedic revelation.  The essence begins with the upanisads, and that study and the prosecution of its viddhis also marks the inception of nivritti-marga.  Now, is a concocted path of material enjoyment—one allegedly dovetailed to Krishna consciousness—even connected to pravritti-marga?

Technically, it is not.  However, sometimes the spiritual master calls the expansion of material activities (by the vikarmis of this Western culture, etc.) as action on the pravritti-marga.  This is because the pulse is quite the same as that of the Vedic system, but the routine procedures, views, attitudes, rituals, and modus operandi differ, often radically.  Such is especially the case for the atheists and agnostics. This same principle would apply to the sahajiyas as well, especially the ones who are obviously after (and generally attaining) various forms of profit (money), adoration, distinction, aggrandizement, power, fame, sense gratification, and all kinds of material amenities.  This is something that requires our attention.

For Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, a management system was envisioned and created meant to facilitate all of them in advancing on the path of Krishna consciousness.  Prabhupada’s particular system was permeated with knowledge and renunciation, and it was known as the Hare Krishna movement of Krishna consciousness.  It was meant for the creation of a brahminical class seeped in transcendence, and, as such, it was the highest manifestation of nivritti-marga.  Even the householders in this system were supposed to be on that path, although they were granted some concessions not afforded the other ashrams.

We all know that Prabhupada created the governing body for the express purpose of maintaining his system just as he had envisioned and set it into motion.  These men were, in some (certainly not all) ways, comparable to the universal management team of the demigods.  In this analogy, Srila Prabhupada (saksad-dhari) was like God and the commissioners were supposed to be like demigods working under him, obeying his dictates, surrendering to his will, and enacting his transcendental plan.  Their assignment or fiduciary responsibility was to maintain his system intact, and that duty entailed their being particularly aware not to allow the pulse of pravritti-marga to enter into any of the important circles.  A non-threatening kind of pravritti-marga would be allowed only at the outermost circle, the fringe of this system; that’s why those devotees of weak faith (komala-sraddha) were and are appropriately called fringies.

Now the question we must ask ourselves at this time is: Has a kind of pravritti-marga wormed its way into what, superficially, appears to still be the Hare Krishna movement?  Due to bad leadership and association, has the previously transcendental devotional service of the Lord been converted into sense gratification?  Is there now, accordingly, an over-emphasis on the attainment of material positions and results, bank accounts, and related amenities that has created a covert fervor of sahajiyism?  Is there any real transcendental shelter afforded in the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON,” or is that association now just another version of the rat race?

After that, the next question should be: If so, how did this all transpire?  We shall examine these questions and offer some answers.  There is absolutely no way to give the commissioners a pass on any of this, because the body itself, along with all of its members, has its fingerprints all over the current matrix.  The idea of the best of both worlds or of dovetailing pravritti-marga is no longer viable. The rubber band has been stretched to the breaking point; indeed, it has broken.  That is why this article will not waste time discussing reforms; it will not meet any criteria of so-called constructive criticism.  Such critiques are meant for that which can be reformed, and both the vitiated GBC, as well as the “ISKCON” organization it controls, are beyond that status.

Those Were the Days

If you contend that bogus gurus are the real problem, we shall not at all disagree with you.  The hippie peace movement of the mid-Sixties and early Seventies aspired to wonderful ideals, but the intrusion into its mix of Indian impersonal gurus and Buddhist rinpoches worked to covertly and insidiously destroy it.  The influence of the bogus guru is always to be avoided; his pernicious bijas will definitely spoil all that is truly worthy or evolutionary in thought and feeling.  However, the worst variety of bogus guru is the bogus Vaishnava guru; another name for this dangerous element in human society is sahajiya.  The association of such people actually has the potency to convert the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord into Maya, and, when that happens, the movement with the highest ideals is turned into a post-modern vehicle of pravritti-marga.

The bogus guru of “ISKCON” is a product of the GBC; indeed, many commissioners themselves also fill the role.  We shall explore this theme later in the article.  For now, let us understand an important principle that underlies the current power of the GBC.  We shall first present two mundane examples (separate analogies), then we shall consider the direct thing—the one that most concerns us at the present moment.  In Kali Yuga, movements of very high ideals almost always devolve into their own opposites.  They do so when not properly founded and/or when care and attention to proper management is not maintained (by later leaders of such movements).  This is the important principle above referenced.

Although we are simply going to mention it here (without any details), just take a look at the Marxist-Leninist Communist of the material dialectic.  What high ideals he espoused: “Power to the people!” “Workers of the World, Unite!” “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs,” etc.  However, Communism did not at all play out that way, did it?  Indeed, it became its own opposite, and “Uncle Joe” is now remembered as the greatest murderer in history.

As Westerners in general and Americans in particular, we really did not have to live through any of that.  As such, begging your indulgence, let me give a brief synopsis of two movements that were (are), so to speak, closer to home.  This brief digression is not tangential, because, when applied analogously, these examples will help us to understand the current predicament of what is now nothing more than a devolutionary reflection of the Krishna consciousness movement.  The first example is rock ‘n roll, specifically Sixties message music.

Any devotee over the age of fifty-five remembers it all quite well, because we were part of it, we were into it, and we lived its ideals.  Sure, it began in a rather bawdy way in the mid-Fifties, but that is not how we were affected by it.  By the mid-Sixties, we were given a new emotional surcharge by its deep lyrics along with its unprecedented musical arrangements.  It was powerful stuff.  In a sense, you could say that the leaders of these bands, particularly the bards who exemplified that movement (the lead songwriters and singers), were practically like gurus to us. 

In our eyes, the musicians themselves were not frauds. We believed that they believed their own messages and hundreds of young, hip, creative people became our leaders in a very practical way.  We trusted their right and ability to lead us; they had a new explanation and something important to say. Sometimes their idiom of expression was a bit obscure, and, here and there, garden-variety platitudes were put forward.  Nevertheless, the message music of peace, love, and defiance of all that was hypocritical and false enthused us--we became part of a movement that sang to the heart of universal ideals, apparently in harmony with the meaning of life.

This music offered a fresh and relevant insight into the reality of that moment; as a side benefit, our generation did not have to be overly concerned about security.  We were becoming introspective, and this music was helping us to turn on, tune in, and drop out of the rat race.  However, rock ‘n roll was actually unable to maintain any kind of evolutionary trajectory.  By the late Sixties and early Seventies, it began to branch into a subtle kind of nihilism.  Hard rock eventually morphed into heavy metal.  Psychedelic rock eventually morphed into dark music with satanic groups like Black Sabbath.  The tragedy of this devolutionary momentum did not stop there.  Rock ‘n roll spawned punk and the Sex Pistols.  The ultra-sense gratificatory emergence of disco was a splinter outgrowth of rock ‘n roll as well.  As the decades marched on, the devolutionary cycle dropped to ever-lower octaves, as pop culture descended into goth, mechanical, rap, hip-hop, and cyber-punk.

Now, the point we wish to stress here is that contemporary music has many millions of listeners, and most of them are rapt fans.  They are addicted to it, and they believe it to be progressive.  However, from the standpoint of the transcendental perspective, it is anything but.  Chock full of the two lower modes, it has virtually no redeeming features whatsoever.  With only very rare exceptions, it is cent-per-cent materialistic; the high ideals that were so often present in the mid-Sixties have gone straight into the crapper. Although, technically, it is considered a separate genre by post-modern music’s history buffs (absorbed in their own minutiae), today’s rock ‘n roll has become its own opposite.

That is one example that many of you can relate with, and here is a second one: The Green Movement.  You could say that it started with Silent Spring, and we would not disagree.  Then there was Buckminster Fuller and Earth Day in April, 1970; this was soon followed by Stuart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, which almost every hippie had on his bookshelf.  The counter-culture started to get more into it not long afterwards, and hippy-greens latched onto Koulvinaska’s thick, soft-cover manifesto that merged these trends of that time. 

The original green ideals were high: A return to a simpler lifestyle, free from the rat race. This was made even more manifest by E. F. Shumacher in Small is Beautiful.  Again, the ideal was freedom from the mode of passion.  When Spirit sang that something was wrong and that you know that it must be so if you are having to hear it in a song, the peace movement and its message music was moving from the metropolitan, political sphere toward the rural idyllic and rustic, forest retreat.  Simple living and high thinking was pushed by the deep greens; this synchronized with our highest ideals.

Once again, however, things devolved.  Rather than go through a thumbnail sketch of the interim of that itinerary, we should know it for a fact that today’s viridian green movement is fully absorbed in its own concoction of pravritt-marga.  It is avante-garde, dedicated to ever-increasing sense gratification. This fool’s paradise is achieved via scientific invention and nano-technology that supposedly will overcome the destruction of the environment; everyone will be allowed to enjoy material life even more.  It looks down on what it calls the “dark greens,” considering them antiquated, anti-life, misanthropic, anti-progress, and anti-accomplishment.  It has a similar outlook on rural ashrams, because it is rooted in the city and the atheistic and agnostic lifestyles that permeate metropolitan life.

The deep greens should be our natural allies, but they are not.  They are far closer to our standard than the Hindoo, who has insidiously taken over the “ISKCON” movement by greasing its wheels.  If we had stayed on course, we would now be linked with the deep greens; they would be assisting us in so many ways while we ministered to their spiritual needs.  However, today’s “ISKCON” movement is thoroughly post-modern (sometimes, even haute-coutre), almost exclusively city-oriented, dependent upon the Hindoo, and shot through with all kinds of anachronistic trends, such as feminism, Western pragmatism, multi-layered corporate webs of imposed hierarchy, inter-faith, and many other diversionary and artificial arrangements and lifestyles.  It is the antithesis of the ideals ordered and exemplified by its founder-acharya (such as simple living and high thinking), and it acts against its own constitution, its own scriptures, and its original path.

The original path was nivritti-marga in vidhi-sadhana-bhakti-yoga, but the pulse of contemporary “ISKCON” has nothing to do with that.  Instead, the new and improved movement is materialistically “progressive,” which is nothing but code for an emphasis on mundane accumulation, constant activity, continuous conflict, and, of course, all kinds of sense gratification cloaked by a thin veneer of “Krishna consciousness.”  The current path or pulse is a warped variety of pravritti-marga, genuine nivritti-marga is anathema to it.  That is why there can be no reform, and all such efforts are, at best, little more than a dangerous waste of time.

Betrayal is Such a Bitch

“That is not the business of GBC. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC.” Letter to Giriraj, 8-12-71, London

The major deviations in today’s movement have all transpired due to the GBC having engaged in treachery and betrayal, i.e., illegal activity in order to set those deviations into motion.  They have betrayed the fiduciary responsibility assigned to them by His Divine Grace, but this should not at all be surprising.  It should not shock anyone that they have done this, because, if you have kept up what went on around Srila Prabhupada (especially in the last months at Vrindavan), such subsequent criminal activity could only have been expected. It was (and remains) not the kind of illegal activity which has any hope of being prosecuted by secular authorities, but that does not diminish its pernicious effects. 

It was illegal for the body to exert absolute power, as the GBC attempted to do (and for some time, was able to pull off to a considerable extent) in the spring of 1978. It was illegal for the commission to declare a big lie, viz., that Prabhupada had appointed eleven mahabhagavats.  It was illegal for the GBC to empower that lie and to implement it worldwide. It was illegal for the body to create exclusive zones for these so-called acharyas.  It was illegal to create the acharya board within the GBC. 

All the initiations performed by these pretenders were also illegal, according to obvious shastric logic dovetailed with Vaishnava prajna.  It was not in the power of the GBC to say that the parampara, as represented by the last Sampradaya Acharya, worked only through them and that their appointment of diksa-gurus was bona fide because Srila Prabhupada transferred to the commission his absolute power.

It is illegal for the GBC to abrogate unto itself the power to have its party men wait in queue for one, two, or three years in order to see if any of the members of the commission vetoes his nomination to be diksa-guru. It is illegal for the body to recognize such a “guru” when he manages to avoid that.  It was illegal for the commission to have diksa-gurus recognized by votes of the body before this latest concoction.

It may not be illegal, but it is certainly highly distasteful that the GBC has not spoken out strongly against the so-called Lilamrita, especially since its author advertises in the book itself that his work has received that body’s imprimatur.  It is equally abominable that the commission does not raise a deafening outcry against all of the changes enacted to Prabhupada’s books by the so-called BBT(i).

It was illegal and not in the power of the GBC to incorporate, since His Divine Grace obviously wanted it to remain an unincorporated management organization.  It is illegal to have the Society’s temple presidents declare sole allegiance of their temples--and especially sole fiduciary oversight of those centers--to the GBC, circumventing the original system of trustees for each center established by His Divine Grace.

Any one of these abovementioned illegalities would be enough to render the commission unauthorized and not entitled to any devotee’s allegiance.  All of them combined together, along with many other shady arrangements not brought out in this small article, make the whole governing commission really nothing more than a criminal enterprise.  It was not in the power of the GBC men to do any of this, and every individual president has been emasculated and compromised as a result of these harmful seeds sown by the combined intent of a vitiated GBC.

Scent of an Omen

“Now, I want all of you to work cooperatively and very frankly. That is our process. Not that we shall always plot and scheme . . . “ Letter to Amogha, 8-24-72, L.A.

What is happening to Krishna Consciousness, the corporate structure that has centers worldwide and is considered as being the Hare Krishna movement, is very ominous.  Corporate power, past recognitions, and various intrigues regularly enacted by its first and second echelon leaders all combine to create a kind of solidarity based on qualities against Krishna consciousness.  Honesty and its accompanying frank dealings are not compatible with these qualities. These devolutionary proclivities, especially the ones in the modes of passion, combine to produce a warped version of pravritti-marga, and each devotee entangled in that mode (or pulse) is practically unable to hear any good counsel; this is the result of a labyrinth network of unauthorized bijas working within the astral bodies of these victimized men and women. 

The solidarity of this movement is based upon four pillars that are all-pervading amongst its vanguards.  These four qualities are: 1) Imitation, 2) Propensity to change anything and everything, 2) Irresponsibility, and 4) Jiva-himsana.  Combined, they have hardened the hearts of the leaders in such a way that there is practically no hope of getting back on to the original track.  That would entail a return to knowledge, detachment, ethical dealings, responsibility, following in the footsteps of the acharya (not imitating him), and freedom from envy of one’s fellow travelers on the highest path of liberation (nivritti-marga).  It would mean returning to the real philosophy, process, and directives, and abandoning the passionate impulse, which entails pleading “time, place, and circumstance” whenever there is another change promulgated.

In the article at following link, we shall, in detail, delve into the four above-mentioned pillars of deviation. Every GBC man represents them at this time, and so do the commission’s lackeys, hacks, party men, enforcers, sycophants, and dull-witted followers.  Krishna Consciousness and the Cracked Disc of Discord, .

None of these current deviations transpired by accident.  They are all a result of a loose conspiratorial vision, rooted in fix-it-as-you-go arrangements.  Its goals are being gradually achieved, but the plan for carrying out the vision always remains malleable. This conspiracy was hatched entirely by GBC men and first echelon leaders, and the current leader of the “ISKCON” movement—who makes it an express point to treat any accusations of conspiracy with contemptuous exasperation (in order to get everyone to think the very idea is a hysterical reaction)—has his own war-time consigliore counseling him. 

They are both powerful intellectuals who now effectively work the yin method of organization, collegiate consensus, and hierarchy, which is intrinsic to the Second Transformation. The yang epoch of the zonals crashed and burned.  Now the biorhythm of the movement has switched, and this has empowered its new leader as well.  In order to carry out his attempt to steer the movement in the direction he wants it to go, the professor creates various illusions that only devotees advanced in knowledge and an understanding of the astral sphere can pierce.  He is succeeding in his harmful attempt, at least at this time. 

Make no mistake: Their movement is always suffused and surcharged with conflict, because a constant state of strife allows its leaders to remain in power. The divide and conquer principle is intrinsic here, and it is also made rather easy to employ by the fact that most devotees have been programmed to obey or face the consequence of ostracism. This malefic momentum did not simply happen; always remember that Humpty was pushed.

The commission, which was meant to manage the Krishna consciousness movement for the protection and spiritual upliftment of all of Prabhupada’s initiated disciples, has actually worked to do the exact opposite.  The propensity to scheme and plot has been perfected by them almost to a science, and no one in his right mind ever expects anything honest or progressive to come out of the annual GBC conclaves. 

We cannot continue to associate with these sahajiyas, because, if we do, our devotional bija will be converted to a creeper that is conducive to sense gratification and samsara. What is going on here is all rather ominous, although superficially their movement appears to be a juggernaut that cannot be stopped.  It can be effectively blocked and checked, however, when enough devotees finally realize that the GBC are gods who failed, and that the covert pravritti-marga that their enclave has pushed for over thirty years must be individually expelled, by every bhakta and bhaktin, through the determination of his or her own higher intelligence.


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