Taking Shelter of Buddhi-Yoga

by Gokulänanda

“Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation.”
Bhagavad-gétä, 3.3, purport

Here a fanatic, there a fanatic, everywhere a fanatic! Why are there so many fanatics when it comes to religion? In general, religion is full of highly emotional people who don’t spend a lot of time asking good questions. They are usually directed by leaders giving wrong answers to questions that aren’t being properly asked or answers that they are not qualified to give. In essence, a fanatic is someone who puts emotion and sentimentality before intelligence.

Usually, when starting with the A-B-C-D of Kåñëa consciousness, people are fanatical, and they’re trying to get past the initial stage of being engrossed in false ego while attempting to change their devotion from their senses to devotion to Lord Kåñëa. This defect of fanaticism can be fixed if they realize they are lacking in intelligence and take steps to overcome it, practicing proper buddhi-yoga (buddhi meaning intelligence) and seeking out good guidance. Your author was in this category and was helped by the Vaiñëava Foundation, mainly by its leader, Kailäsa Candra däsa.

There are many yogas being practiced all over the world, but the main one we care about is the one given to us in Çréla Prabhupäda’s Hare Krsna movement: Bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is the culmination of all yogas and is the main focal point of a Vaiñëava. Really, however, it is only truly performed in complete purity when a devotee reaches rägänugä-bhakti. As such, calling it bhakti-yoga before that point can be a bit misleading, and we shall refer to it as buddhi-yoga (which means basically the same thing) throughout this article.

“The whole world is full of cheaters and cheated. Because we want to be cheated, there are so many cheaters. They don't want real thing. Here is the real thing, Bhagavad-gétä, the Supreme Personality of Godhead speaking personally about Himself.”
London platform lecture, 7-14-73

Practicing religion can put you on a dangerous road if you’re not careful, because the field now is full of delusional teachers and students. All of them want to spread their warped ideas of what is right and wrong. If spiritual seekers are lucky enough to have been initiated by Çréla Prabhupäda while he was present or to simply have read his books (and found that the Kåñëa consciousness in those books is the road for them), they are the lucky ones. These rare individuals, who carry a hope for the future, should want to know if they are being misled by an institution run by self-serving power mongers.

It’s hard to say whether the new people who choose to go to “ISKCON” are fanatical or simply innocent or are following their hearts to a believed better world. Seeing how bad the West is, it’s hard to blame someone for wanting to find a way out. Seeing how “ISKCON” is a place where people congregate to practice a way of life that is supposed to be free from the atrocities of the Western way, one can almost think that the newcomers are not to be blamed . . . almost.

There is too much knowledge in Çréla Prabhupada's books to allow one to think that any of these men now leading “ISKCON” were or are gurus. Over and above that, what about all the alarms that should be going off in one's head when he or she first meets a former “ISKCON” member? What about the warning one receives when that former member reveals what's going on in that cult? They should be smart enough to hightail it out of there before becoming fanatics themselves. If somebody ignores all the warnings and joins despite having heard so many of them, then he or she is to blame and needs to own up to it.

We have this precious human life for the purpose of emancipating ourselves spiritually, yet most people occupy themselves with useless material activities. Çréla Prabhupäda has given us the means to return to Godhead by understanding the importance of devoting one's life to Lord Çré Kåñëa, a gift that is beyond any price.

Now, almost forty years after Çréla Prabhupäda left this world, we see first-hand what happens when there is deviation by those who claimed leadership of his movement. The only protection we have from being misled by those charlatans—misled into a life of delusional institutionalism--is to utilize buddhi-yoga in order to understand what the deviations are and how to properly oppose them.

“This is the function of the GBC: To see that one may not be taken away by mäyä. The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru."
Letter to Madhudviña Swämi, 8-4-75

However, in so-called “ISKCON,” its “gurus” were never recognized as such by Çréla Prabhupäda. Instead, they were voted in by the G.B.C., in one way or another. Its members now purport to be instructor gurus (which they have proven they are not). The G.B.C. takes upon itself the power to de-facto appoint new gurus. That is not a process that should be accepted by anybody, least of all practitioners of buddhi-yoga. These institutional “gurus” are sahajiyäs; they do not practice buddhi-yoga but sahajiyä-bhakti-yoga.

While trying to advance in Kåñëa consciousness, taking advantage of an authorized institution in order to interact with godbrothers is a very nice thing. Having an institution that is run by cheaters, whose power to lead is secured by using greed and cunning in order to climb the corporate ladder, is not desirable. Still, we find that there are newcomers to “ISKCON” who are allowing their emotions to guide them and not giving priority to their intelligence. They become easily duped into becoming members of that fabricated institution, thinking it to be the only way. If somehow they realize what a harmful place “ISKCON” is, by that time, it is usually too late to leave and start over. They now need to work tremendously hard to purge themselves of certain unwanted seeds that have grown within their consciousness--an extremely difficult feat for anyone. This is where having and utilizing developed intelligence, in order to see and oppose the deviations, is essential.

The mis-leaders of so-called “ISKCON” do not like it when devotees beneath them on the institutional totem pole apply buddhi-yoga; it becomes too much of a problem if they have to deal with chelas who begin to find genuine spiritual knowledge. As such, those mis-leaders employ various tactics to make sure buddhi-yoga is not at all prominent in their institution. There have always been fanatics in that movement, but now there is no way for them to get free from their fanaticism unless they leave the game completely, which is highly recommended.

In other words, we see an institution that needs to keep its members in a state of delusion in order to function. This is not how it was ever meant to be. It is an unholy crime of gigantic proportions, and it has to be stopped. A person may think that it can be fixed, but that is exactly what has been going on, the pretense of “fixing.” It can’t be fixed.

Try to imagine a perfect building that makes people who enter it come out perfect. Now, somewhere along the line, some group of slobs (that the builder invited into his building) make a mess on the floor and don’t clean it up. The mess begins to putrefy. Over the years, the slobs keep making more of a mess, and the building keeps rotting away. Eventually, the builder who was trying to maintain it gets run out by the slobs. Now the slobs decide to call themselves builders and create their own distorted reflection of what the building first looked like. They maintain the myth that people can still enter the building and come out of it perfect.

If you haven’t guessed, the people do not come out perfect, not by a long shot. The building needs to be built properly from the foundation, and the slobs need to be thrown out.

The task is before us, but it is not a simple one. The power node of “ISKCON” is deeply rooted in its own methods of intelligence. Even if someone confronted the vested interests with irrefutable logic, they have ways to break you if you are not prepared. Also, how can there evolve a situation where they are not surrounded by their own fanatical supporters? They would never allow it. The challenge is there, but the reward is, as well. It’s just a matter of time before the power node collapses, and, when it does, wouldn’t you want to be on the side which helped to bring it down?


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