Kåñëa Consciousness Undermines Ecclesiology
(Exposing the Illusion of Institutional Initiation)
Part One: Root Causes
By Kailäsa Candra däsa
“Bhakti-latä-béja means 'the seed of devotional service.' . . . This bhakti-latä-béja is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Kåñëa. Other seeds, called anyäbhiläña-béja, include karma-béja and jïäna-béja. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-latä-béja from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates such seeds as karma-béja, jïäna-béja, or political, social or philanthropic béjas. However, the bhakti-latä-béja is different from these other béjas. . . The bhakti-latä-béja is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the béja, or root cause, of karma, jïäna and yoga without the benefit of devotional service, but one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-latä-béja. This bhakti-latä-béja is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master.”
“(He) could not understand that Gaurasundara is fundamentally spiritual in nature, and only exhibited false bhakti through lip-service. He took shelter of Satan. . . Those that consider Mahäprabhu to be Satan will pray to him for all these things.”
Stanley: “We can't go around deluding ourselves.”
There can be no reform of the Vaiñëava philosophy, as it is eternally true. There can be a return to it or it can be uncovered, but its philosophical influence will always maintain fundamental significance, underwriting the bona fide Kåñëa consciousness movement. A peculiar form of tautological institutionalism has now temporarily triumphed to cover Kåñëa consciousness, particularly in the West. This suppression is manifest as an ecclesiological abyss, the worst of what organized religion today represents.
Kåñëa consciousness—and the genuine Kåñëa consciousness movement--is different from that manifestation, as the highest consciousness possible for the human being is total but not totalitarian—at least, it has nothing to do with the various Western totalitarian movements, both secular and “religious,” that Kali-yuga has spawned in the last two centuries. Real Kåñëa consciousness produces a movement in which, although the sattvic mode is important, perfection remains at its root, i.e., Kåñëa consciousness is certainly not the enemy of the good, but it does not sacrifice perfection for the sake of mundane goodness.
All emphases added for your edification and realization
When reform simply replaces egregious manifestations (often via superficial displays of goodness) while ignoring the root causes of those manifestations, that is all too often nothing more than a subtle form of institutional arrogance. It gives us no reprieve from nescience. So many foolish devotees are lamenting the rather obvious deviations, but they still are illusioned by the myth of "self-sacrifice" to the institution and its leaders, wrongly thinking their pleasure to be the root cause, the be-all and end-all of Kåñëa consciousness.
“ISKCON” dogmatism appeals to those who view corporatism, institutionalism, and organized religion (especially the mysterium of the ritual G.B.C. conclave, as will be discussed in more detail at the end of Part One) as the sole means of deliverance from illusion, i.e., the giver of final revelation. This intimidating mystique can be found in many other organized religions, as well. It is a mentality that makes a mockery of the invisible hand of the Supreme Controller holding sway over every mundane manifestation. It substitutes the institution for Him and makes the corporate power node, the commission or directorate, the hidden agent of all benediction and punishment. It is not strong philosophy, and it does not represent the root of what actually controls everything and everybody, but it does take advantage of those enamored by it. Institutional religion, especially for its supplicant, is a cop out, and it has been practiced for centuries now, particularly in the Western world.
“ISKCON” cannot, under any circumstances, be considered a conduit to real happiness and freedom from the pangs of material nature. Happiness is ultimately änanda or bliss, and real philosophy has an important role to play in its attainment. “ISKCON” instead inundates you with dogma in the guise of philosophy, all in the name of the Absolute Truth. Your intelligence is not fully engaged when it becomes entangled in such propaganda, and your ethical and moral purpose of life is thus diverted by a mystical and false claim of totalism. The significance and purpose of the multi-part series will be experienced in its exposition of what the total picture actually looks like, as the series expounds upon many of the key concepts barely touched upon in this introduction.
Mean Age Wasteland
kalkiù kaleù käla-malät prapätu dharmävanäyoru-kåtävatäraù
kalià sattva-haraà puàsäà karëa-dhära ivärëavam
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
We have been benedicted by our founder, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda, the sampradäya-äcärya, with a vision of the ultimate goal. It is an entirely transcendental path, pristine and unprecedented in terms of its ultimate perspective. This vision automatically creates a reaction of hatred within the psyches of the conditioned souls, unless they are pious. This vision is based on yogic action, not merely meditation. We are urged to create things, and our creations must be in the attitude of service to guru and Gauräìga.
When we create things, we manipulate material nature in order to please the guru-paramparä, knowing full well that pleasing it means pleasing the Lord. Our attempts to create will be opposed by the non-devotees, the impious, the demons, and especially the sahajiyä class. If we discover a better way that does not deviate at all from the spiritual principles--but, instead, enhances their efficacy--we shall nevertheless be denounced.
As such, these non-devotional classes of men—particularly when they coalesce in the group consciousness (as the Party)—will oppose us and attempt to impede us at every step. If we remain strong in our determination and do not compromise our spiritual integrity, we shall come out victorious in the end. Yet, in the beginning, this outcome will not look very promising. They will demand that we must serve “the Society,” which, of course, they completely control. They will demand that we follow their contaminated consciousness and the ritual it has produced, rejecting and neglecting the knowledge and realization that is so important to us.
They will completely impugn our motives, not recognizing for even one instance that our vision is in tune with search for realization of the Absolute Truth. They will reject that realization of the Absolute Truth as nothing more than individual, subjective, atomized, and hallucinatory, instead insisting that deliverance can only be had for and within the confines of the collective, of “the Society,” within the confines of “ISKCON.” They will stubbornly maintain that any and all truth can only be legitimate if it gives direct and measurable benefits to others, their chosen others.
They thus reject the fact that Absolute Truth is above and transcendental to all men and all things. In the name of loyalty to The Party—in the current case, in the name of “ISKCON”--vacuous words of the party men instill a misconception. This misconception is that all individual vision (and the courage to act in accordance with it) must be ever subordinated to the group, that all realization can never be an attainment of the individual self, sought for to further the realization or consciousness of the self. They reject all of this as enviousness conjoined with false ego, but the self, even in the probationary stage, possesses true ego transcendental to ahaìkära. Buddhi-yoga can be practiced by anyone and everyone, and there is no need to kow-tow to the big guns of The Party in prosecuting it.
As esteemed a great personality as Bhaktivinode Öhäkur has clearly stated, in his great work Tattva-viveka, that ultimately there is no such thing as selflessness. We must give up the false ego that produces mäyika selfishness, but our higher intelligence—and even our rational faculty previous to fixed prajïä—can be dovetailed to a spiritual self-motivation that is self-sufficient, self-generated, and (dare we say it) selfish in the true and absolute sense of the word. By living under this evolutionary impulse, we dovetail ourselves to cosmic consciousness. We thus individually become a kind of via medium of the Absolute, having achieved individual strength free from the parasitic power of the controllers of the institution, who create nothing.
In Kali-yuga, these parasites prosper, and all unfortunates who wind up serving them are exploited, misled, and tossed back out into the cold world. This kind of manipulation has been going on for decades, and it is high time that it is fully confronted and exposed. It may not be the root cause of the deviation, but it certainly is connected to that root cause.
We glorify guru and Gauräìga via the working principles of buddhi-yoga, and our achievements entail the manipulation of the Lord's material energy rather than the manipulation of other men and women, which is what the Party Men do all of the time. They achieve nothing, but simply feed off the forced results of those they manipulate. They steal those results, in no small part, by employing the intimidation of institutional mystique. This is the nature of Kali-yoga, and the dull-witted must be cheated. True devotees actually can assist sincere and serious newcomers, but, if they instead supplicate themselves to the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, they're all wasted!
“The connection with the spiritual master is called initiation. From the date of initiation by the spiritual master, the connection between Kåñëa and a person cultivating Kåñëa consciousness is established. Without initiation by a bona fide spiritual master, the actual connection
with Kåñëa consciousness is never performed.”
"In many places and in the name of devotion, people engage in unauthorized, anti-devotional activities in the name of the practice of pure bhakti. If a devotee does not clearly expose these deviations, then çuddha-bhakti will not emerge victorious and cannot be established."
Did you see him?
Does conducting a fire sacrifice in front of (installed?) Deities automatically mean that initiation into Kåñëa consciousness has transpired for the newcomer, that he or she has received the bhakti-latä-béja? Does the mere throwing of rice and bananas into the flames mean that it is a done deal? This is a question that you must be willing to ask yourself. If you are able to come up with the right answer, then the faux manifestation of the initiation fire sacrifice falls into an entirely different category, separate from bhakti.
Çréla Bhaktivinode calls that category unauthorized, anti-devotional action in the name of the practice of pure bhakti, which is called vidhi-sädhana (in the beginning stage). If the root cause of devotional service is reception of the bhakti-latä-béja (and it is), then the root cause of faux devotional service must be attributed to some other béja, one opposed to the bhakti-latä.
That béja is the “ISKCON” béja. It is unthinkable when you first read or hear about it, but if you apply your higher intelligence, it looses that shocking quality. When the institution chronically manifests itself as the authorized replacement for pure service and the best link to the spiritual world—when it imposes itself as the only representative of Çréla Prabhupäda and the guru-paramparä on earth—then its béja must be transmitted, at least by the time of any initiation ritual approved by the institution, if not before.
Our process is known as both bhakti-yoga and buddhi-yoga. We must, at all levels, survive by our wits in this degraded age, and Kåñëa consciousness, combined with individual intelligence, is the best way of doing so. Those who consider Kåñëa consciousness to be an abstraction almost invariably equate it with organized religion. Yet, when man's intelligence is dovetailed, as per his given ability and current adhikära, to the service of the guru-paramparä, that intellectual faculty, the function of reasoning in the service of the Lord, allows him to survive, thrive, and accomplish.
It is a personal attribute developed individually; it is not bestowed upon the devotee by some kind of group consciousness. The collective brain of the Party is parasitical by nature, and we have seen it practically that, when His Divine Grace departed, his governing body immediately degenerated even further and either broke or kicked out (willingly or unwillingly) all those devotees who did not fully accept its collective will.
When the group usurps the preaching results of the devotee for its own benefits, it always does so in a spirit of compromise. The devotee obtains results by the use and determination of his intelligence; this is the primary event. It is performed by the individual through his creative faculty, which came into being via the mode of passion at the beginning of the universe. Such buddhi is, when normal, a creative intelligence, an endowment given to individual men and women to dovetail in the service of the Paramätmä, Who ultimately directs it from the spiritual plane.
The results obtained by the devotee in the service of the Lord are secondarily his possession, if he is qualified to manage them. They are primarily the Lord's, because He is the ultimate controller and possessor of everything. These results make the devotee a spiritual steward on behalf of the Supreme, and that is how he or she becomes a secondary proprietor. The primary proprietor is the Lord, not a group of parasitic men (and now women) who are always keen to either steal the results from the devotee, or, if they cannot do so, to malign both the results and the devotee who was empowered to produce them.
As such, our process is called buddhi-yoga, and devotees thus are afforded the opportunity to thrive as individuals, pleasing the Supreme in the process. They are being guided at every step by their reasoning faculty and higher intelligence, which, in most cases, work well together. However, the process involves work, and, when it is genuinely spiritual, it is real work. The mäyä streams against this process, and, by doing so, even threatens the very survival of the devotee in the material world. He or she must use his or her intelligence to create, and, by so doing, please the Supreme. At the same time, he or she must earn a livelihood. This genuine process of bhakti, and the means of survival accompanying it, is not at all assisted by bogus initiation.
True ego is light years superior to altruism. Indeed, true ego is all good absolute, while mundane altruism cannot escape the network of evil integral to the material world. Conditioned souls who voluntarily agree to surrender to the directions of an advanced and devoted transcendentalist actually gain, in due course, real freedom within themselves; in particular, they soon gain liberation from the perverted reflection of spiritual life. Nevertheless, the man of spirit does not find any real happiness in sacrificing himself for the temporary benefit of conditioned souls, including all those helplessly carried away by the rushing river of organized religion. When the powerful slipstream of that river runs its course, they are just as helplessly thrown over the falls to perish.
The Folly of Reform
“The rascals do not know how to make things right. . . occasional revolution is required. Because the things which have been made--that is, imperfect—therefore, you require revolution.”
“Veëa . . . came out to be first-class rogue. So the father of Veëa wanted to reform him in so many ways, but he could not. The son was not to be corrected.”
“Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
To better understand the distraction created by “ISKCON” reformists, we can consider an analogy now playing out in the mundane world; it is related to the climate change debate. Those who believe that reform is the best way, that Prabhupäda always wanted it and still wants it now, and that reform's incremental improvement always makes things better, often point to the Second Transformation in the mid-Eighties, in which the mighty zonal äcäryas relinquished their big seats and took a lower profile, mostly. Granted, from a superficial standpoint, dealings improved in some relatively small degree at that time, but the root issues were not at all addressed via that reform, i.e., they continued and remaining festering to this day.
In the same way, the discovery of natural gas as a substitute for coal (at many power plants) appeared, at first, to be a reform that could, to some significant degree, solve the problem of global heating (the term “global warming” is too benign). As a first cousin to whip-stocking employed initially in southern California, hydraulic fracturing, sometimes called “fracking,” was invented in America in order to release shale gas (or natural gas) from deep pockets within subterranean rocks. This kind of drilling has resulted in a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions nationwide, as natural gas emits less than half of the carbon dioxide (compared to coal) when burned.
It was, at first, considered to be an effective method of reform, helping to solve the problem of heat-trapping emissions, which are the cause of the greenhouse gas effect (global heating). However, this reform has had a side-effect that was, in due course, discovered to complicate the issue. Natural gas is methane, and methane is also a heat-trapping emission. In fact, methane, once it reaches the upper atmosphere, is calculated to trap eighty-six percent more heat (per molecule) than carbon dioxide.
Now, when natural gas is burned, methane emission is very minor, but there is still a problem: Leakage from the wells. Over years of studying it, an accredited scientist from Cornell had calculated that approximately five percent of the natural gas (methane) in the well leaks out before and after it is burned. Thus, considering this, the burning of fossil fuels versus the burning of natural gas turned out, in terms of its comparative negative impact on the upper atmosphere (in terms of trapping heat), to be about a wash. That fact alone, however, would not make fracking necessarily an unwanted alternative, because methane disappears faster from the upper atmosphere.
As a pro-environmental alternative to dirtier fossil fuels, where the folly of fracking reveals itself is from an entirely different angle, viz., it is a diversion. Building an environmental mentality and super-structure based upon actual clean energy has been impeded and delayed by the discovery of natural gas resources via hydraulic fracking. It has significantly reduced the incentives of big business to convert to the renewables of solar and wind power, because fracking is relatively inexpensive, and there are many shale regions readily discoverable throughout America.
In other words, natural gas, exploited via hydraulic fracturing, allows energy companies to make greater profit and, simultaneously, claim that they are engaged in, at least partially, addressing climate change. Such drilling is, in effect, seen and advertised by them as a reform to exploiting the earth for its limited coal and oil reserves (not that these exploitations have ceased, of course). The irrevocable melt-offs of glaciers and ice sheets throughout the world may be slightly slowed by shale gas drilling, but global heating continues. The bottom line is that the “reform” is actually a diversion, one which wastes time and precious resources. When America and the rest of the Western world should instead be converting completely to renewables, the folly of this reform is in that it dangerously delays the truly progressive process that could save us from disaster, but only if we acted rightly upon it now.
The same principle applies to all the banter for reform in “ISKCON.” It is all ultimately a diversion. Superficial reform solves nothing; it never has and it never will. The discordant Second Transformation resulted in re-arranging the faces on the totem pole, that's all. Now, as the Third Transformation, the Hinduization of “ISKCON” rolls on, there is strong evidence that another such superficial change in the power structure could be underway.
Yet, the roots of the problem remain untouched. Virtually all the many newcomers have had the “ISKCON” béja inserted into their causal bodies. Thus, those of them at the lower levels still are compelled to defend what they have attained, viz., recognition by the institution as one of its initiated devotees, with all the rights and privileges that such recognition affords. The leaders know that fact, and they knew it would play out like this all along.
Their method remains the same, and we have written about it in many other articles on our websites: Fix-it-as-you-go in order to continually buy more time . . . in order to have the systemic deviations lock in deeper (and the vested interests the ability to continue to exploit those deviations all the more). Reform fits right into that agenda, but a genuine revolution in true Kåñëa consciousness most certainly does not. It is folly to think that anything but more of the same will result from the next reform that comes down the pike.
Imaginary Laws and Imaginary Rights
“You do not know that you are infecting some contagious disease. You may not know it, but it will act. In due course of time, you'll develop that disease and suffer. Similarly, without knowledge, in ignorance, imperceptibly we are associating with a certain law of nature, and we shall be victimized. We may not know it, but we shall be victimized.“
“ . . . even the largest and most powerful planet, the sun, rotates within a fixed orbit, or käla-cakra, in obedience to the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This has nothing to do with gravity or any other imaginary laws
created by the material scientists.”
“(F)rom imaginary laws, from dealers in moral and intellectual poisons, come imaginary rights, a bastard brood of monsters, gorgons, and chimaeras dire.”
In days of yore in India, some wicked kings devised evil yet ingenious ways to terminate rival monarchs. One such method was intentionally giving girls, from birth, small, non-lethal doses of poison at regular intervals. These doses, sometimes administered by snakes, were not enough to kill them, but it did make their physical constitutions eventually poisonous. As long as they were sufficiently endowed with requisite animal magnetism, these poison girls, as they came to be known, would eventually be sent to a rival kingdom, with the mission of seducing the ruler there. When successful, that monarch would kiss them, upon which he would immediately die.
Due to a steady and on-going degradation of philosophical and procedural standards in “ISKCON,” and due to the egregious deviations from the orders and intentions of the founder of the original organization, all kinds of riff-raff has entered, and continues to enter, its precincts over many decades. They often find it easy to be accepted, and, in due course, they work their way up the food chain to positions of influence and power. In other words, there is a major and ever-widening breech in the vetting process. As such, so many non-devotional and anti-spiritual elements, such as witches, warlocks, Communists, coruscating sahajiyäs, New Agers, and especially Hindoos, are able to not only enter but to function and prosper within the walls of “ISKCON.”
They are able to do so, however, only if they share in the root nescience underpinning “ISKCON,” viz., accepting the power of the group always over the individual, the belief that legitimacy can only be conferred by coalescing with the group consciousness, with “the Society,” with the institutional source of power and so-called spiritual authority.
The institution then provides cover and facility for them, in the form of dogma, in the form of hierarchy, in the form of an inaccurate history, in the form of a labyrinth of bureaucracy, etc. These people and their so-called gurus then impose their wills, both individually and collectively, on everyone who remains connected to the institution. They push the divinity of the institution. They glorify the institution. They particularly glorify the power node of the institution, its governing body, as the ultimate authority.
They concoct all kinds of schemes, dealings, and literature in order to further this sectarianism. They allow Çréla Prabhupäda's books to be changed in so many ways, most of which are unnecessary (at best) or actually distort the message he was giving in them. They concoct an idea of ecclesiology, in which his books are not an essential pillar of Kåñëa consciousness.
They spread the “ISKCON” béja, which certainly entails that their discredited governing body becomes glorified all the more. They thus create a series of rights and laws that are ultimately not in sync with either the laws of material nature or the laws governing advancement in spiritual life. Yet, any advancement in their institution requires the recognition of these illusory laws and rights, which also means that degraded “sannyäsés” can run rampant throughout the organization, intimidating anyone they please.
This is not how a genuine devotional society is supposed to operate, and the true transcendentalist does not allow himself to have anything to do with all of these imaginary laws, rights, responsibilities, and/or recognitions. The real devotee goes about his duty being a creator, just as Lord Brahmä, the head of our sampradäya, set the original standard. The devotee depends upon the will of the Lord, the protection of the Lord, and upon his own reasoning powers under the guidance of the Lord and scripture.
Individually, the parasitic members of the group do not want to perform such hard work, so they devise means to steal the results of work from the devotees, but they are unable to accomplish this in relation to a true devotee, because he has no connection to their institutional nescience. He originates. Those lower members who try to copy this method within the confines of “the Society” must give their results to their temple president, to their sannyäsé, to their guru, or to some representative of the governing body. All of these entities wind up either borrowing or stealing those results, although that “borrowing” generally turns out to be stealing in the end, anyway.
The devotee understands that he must confront material nature directly. He knows that, in terms of the constructs of human society, he does this alone. As such, he does not rely upon other men. The group manipulators do not confront the problems of material nature directly or alone. Instead, they combine and assemble as a conclave; this collective commission or mother church acts for them as a kind of intermediary. They thus seek independent people as their prey, because they find that conquering an individual is almost always easier than confronting material nature directly. They emphasize that all devotees need others, that all devotees are enjoined by Prabhupäda to “cooperate,” and they then make sure that they control those others in the name of cooperation. Conquering a man victimized by his own compulsion is the basic motive of the group, and each member of that group shares in its fundamentally warped value and implementation.
The devoted transcendentalist, on the other hand, knows the actual value of independence in the performance of his sevä, and he knows that his buddhi cannot function in yoga—within and under the working principles of buddhi-yoga—if it constantly tied to the yoke of compulsion. He does not sacrifice his being or his intelligence to the group, but he instead dovetails it to the service of the Lord. He thus offers the results of his work, in that way, to the Supreme. He knows it well that good results can only be obtained free from compulsion and dependence upon the group-think egregor.
The group consciousness, conversely, emphasizes at every turn the overarching importance of complete dependency, be it to the temple president, the so-called pure sannyäsé, or the commission, the ultimate collective of choice. Thus, the governing body, backed up by its appointed presidents and bureaucrats, has as its clarion call the demand that all devotees in “ISKCON” must be surrendered to the Commission in a way that it approves. The individual bhakta exists to serve the group, and he or she cannot please the Supreme Lord through the guru-paramparä in any other way.
All claims to acting under the banner of spiritual altruism, etc., are nothing but a ruse that covers exploitation underlying that institutional mentality and arrangement. According to its dogma, all ethical principles are thrown out the window, because supplication and service to the Commission is allegedly the be-all and end-all of what His Divine Grace brought to the Western world in the mid-Sixties. Dependency on and subordination to the group is the only real virtue and the only means of deliverance. This method of suppression, accompanied by a subconscious template of anxiety, permeates all the manifestations of the cult—but it is only really felt at the lower levels. At the upper echelons, those enjoyers reap the fruits of having successfully imposed this mentality upon the unfortunates. In this way, misleaders exploit a network of imaginary laws and rights that they have concocted.
Mysterium of the Ritual Conclave
“. . . this Kuïjabihäré Tértha Mahäräja brought so many big, big doctors. And he (Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta) protested, 'Why are you giving me injection?" He protested. He personally said, "Why are you giving me injection?' And, if you bring a doctor, the rascals will not stop. 'Oh, that is our treatment. We must try our best.' They will plead like that. 'To give more trouble to the patient, that is our business.' Inventing new medicines means inventing new means of giving trouble. That's all.”
“I beg to inform you that recently some of the Governing Body Commission members held a meeting at New York on 25th through 28th March, 1972, and they have sent me a big big minutes, duplicated, for my consideration and approval, but, in the meantime, they have decided some appointments without consulting me. . . I do not follow exactly what is the motive of the so-called G.B.C. meeting. Therefore, I have sent the telegram which you will find attached herewith, and I have received the replies as well. Under these circumstances, I AUTHORIZE YOU TO DISREGARD FOR THE TIME BEING ANY DECISION FROM THE G.B.C. MEN UNTIL MY FURTHER INSTRUCTION.”
“Clowns of mystery formin' confusion on the ground.”
One of your author’s godbrothers once revealed an interesting anecdote concerning two of his personal experiences during his first trip to India in the mid-Seventies. He was not a new devotee, but, instead, he was, more or less, a loyal confidante of one of the temple presidents in North America. It was not uncommon that devotees who joined in the early Seventies—such as myself and this bhakta—would not immediately travel to India but wait for a number of years. As such, this devotee was anticipating a very new, enlivening, and unique experience, and, although he almost certainly did get some of that, he also experienced two events that, although not major from the global perspective, were nevertheless eye-openers for him.
During the annual Mäyäpur festival, many devotees would fly together during a time-period just prior to Gaura-purëémä, and they would thus practically dominate the passenger list of the plane. As such, they would very often sit next to one another, even if they did not know the devotees who were seated next to them. Such was the case for this fellow traveler, as he was sitting next to another devotee he had never met (and who he did not very much like), as well as right behind one of the original G.B.C. commissioners appointed by Çréla Prabhupäda in July of 1970. He was thus privy to what that Commissioner was saying to another initiated disciple seated next to him, that disciple being a friend of this bhakta behind them on his first flight to Bhäratavarña.
This G.B.C., acting as a kind of mentor, was telling his student/godbrother that he needed to stay linked to the organization and his Commissioner, securing whatever post in the movement that he could at this time. He was telling the fellow that, after Prabhupäda left, those holding the posts would take over the movement and secure for themselves a comfortable career, loaded with side benefits, such as institutional maintenance. The whole key, according to this mentoring, was to stay loyal to the power structure and to always look at things through this lens as the sole motive for all acts.
This shocked the devotee who heard it from one row behind, but it would get better. As most devotees who have been there well know, especially during your first trip to India, you are probably going to get dysentery within the first few days of your visit. Such was the case for this bhakta, and, when you have that intestinal affliction, you spend a good deal of time in the crapper. I shall not describe what they are generally like in India, but most Westerners experience culture shock in this connection.
So, the time came for the annual G.B.C. conclave in Mäyäpur, and this devotee—who was not at all independent from the itinerary of the group he was in—went with his contingent to that island in West Bengal. The year was 1975, i.e., the year of the infamous 1975 G.B.C. meeting, wherein His Divine Grace rejected virtually all the resolutions that the Commission at first passed and wherein he threatened to give the corporation to the Commission and to continue to preach completely separate from that structure and governing body.
Now, your author does not know the layout of the various rooms at the Mäyäpur temple, but, apparently, there is a “restroom” that was closest to the room in which the G.B.C. assembled for their meetings. During breaks, some of them might use this restroom, which was, just as obviously, open to any and all devotees. The stalls there did have doors (not always the case in India). As such, this bhakta friend of your author was in one of those stalls going through what all those with dysentery go through (more than a few times daily). There was a break in the action, and two G.B.C. men entered that “restroom” or W.C., if you prefer the old-English equivalent.
They did not know he was there. They thought nobody was there, i.e., they (wrongly) thought this was the best place to secure privacy and not be overheard. One of these men was T.K.G., who always tried to influence whatever was to be the outcome of G.B.C. meetings. What he was plotting in this conversation was a scheme to get over when the meeting that day next convened. He was, in effect, choreographing exactly what he would say, what this G.B.C. (now with him in the W.C.) would reply, what he would reply to that, and so on. He knew how he could manipulate an outcome, as long as he had another influential or older G.B.C. (they were both original members of the Commission, appointed in 1970) set things up by timely replies.
This was a great shock to the devotee in the stall. In effect, it shattered his conception of just what went on in those meetings. He was thinking, like most (but not all) of his godbrothers, that the conclave was a solemn event, an atmosphere heavy with spiritual seriousness, comprised of advanced devotees who, together, would glean the desire of the Supreme Lord and pass resolutions reflecting just that. Now he realized that it was anything but. Instead, if was loaded with mundane methodologies meant to service schemes that benefited the schemer or schemers. The feigned mysterium of the collective ritual lost all of its power of intimidation over this devotee at that time.
It should similarly lose just that for you, as well.
Your author remembers speaking to a G.B.C. man in the mid-Seventies in Hawaii at the Oahu branch. He revealed that what went on inside these G.B.C. meetings amounted to little more, in both process and substance, than another version of Animal House, with but a veneer of so-called spirituality in order to keep all the devotees it ruled from discovering just how non-spiritual it actually was. The conclave, both then and now, produces very little of value. In fact, more often than not, it produces nescience. Just as importantly, if you have ever read any of its resolutions for any given year, you will readily see that the document is dominated by one thing: Who gets what zones to overlord. Each G.B.C. competes for his (or her) share, but sometimes they have to split a zone or city into two different sections.
It is the illusion of intimidation that allows the vitiated G.B.C. to go on, year after year, as the so-called ultimate authority. It produces one set of resolutions after another, i.e., resolution after resolution with no solution. Yet, the vast majority of devotees have never experienced how these meetings are conducted, how the various players within them choreograph the proceedings, what is actually discussed (and, even more importantly, what is never discussed), how the votes are taken, etc. Yet, over the years, the results of the G.B.C. decisions are there to see and analyze.
Phalena paricéyate: Judge by the results. Those results have, in many cases, had devastating effects upon the Hare Kåñëa movement of Kåñëa consciousness. Many of the resolutions that have emerged from the conclave have been in direct opposition to the vision of His Divine Grace.
There is no need to provide the details, i.e., they have been explained elsewhere on our websites, as well as on other INTERNET sites. The record is there, and the record is not at all good. This governing body needs to be seen not as a group of men (and women), heavy in knowledge and seriousness, who convene in solemn dedication within the ritual mysterium of bi-annual conclaves in order to transmit the will of God. Instead, it needs to be seen for just what it is, entirely opposite of what it appears to be. This illusion is achieved mostly through psychic intimidation. The ritual conclave comes up with one concoction after another in order to imperfectly solve a problem or a crisis by conjuring at least two more troubles in the process.
Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust