Kåñëa Consciousness Undermines Ecclesiology
G.B.C. Does Not Look After Spiritual Life
(And Has Let Loose Pandora's Box of Deviations)
Ninth of a Ten-Part Series
by Kailäsa Candra däsa
“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. All of our students will have to become guru, but they are not qualified. This is the difficulty.”
“At the present moment in our ISKCON, campus politics and diplomacy has entered. Some of my beloved students, on whom I counted very, very much, have been involved in this matter, influenced by Mäyä. As such, there has been some activity which I consider as disrespectful. So, I have decided to retire and divert attention to book writing and nothing more.”
"How the gods must have chuckled when they added Hope to the evils with which they filled Pandora's Box . . . “
The guru must be a very perfect man; otherwise, he is a pretender. When a governing body decides that it will determine who is guru and who is not guru, then it also must be very perfect. Actually, no managerial body has the authority to appoint gurus or to vote them into office or to veto them. If a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master knows himself to be eligible to become an initiating spiritual master in the disciplic succession of the Brahma-sampradäya, a governing body, if it is bona fide, can act as a watchdog. It can make sure that he is what he says he is, but it cannot appoint or vote or veto or rubber-stamp institutional loyalists and party men into genuine spiritual masters.
All Emphases Added for Your Edification and Realization.
However, the Governing Body Commission of the fabricated “ISKCON” confederation has done all of this. It has initially rubber-stamped (appointed) eleven gurus to the status of mahäbhägavats, with those men all powerful members of the Commission at the time they also received their fiefdoms from the G.B.C. After that, it has voted members of its cult into positions of institutional spiritual master, and it has also vetoed people (“no three blackballs”) previous to the current concoction, the “No Objection Certificate.”
These major deviations from the Vaiñëava process of determining spiritual master went down after Çréla Prabhupäda departed from physical manifestation. In this section, we reproduce and comment upon numerous quotes from his letters, and all of these comments contain strong hints that something inauspicious and unauthorized would transpire after he left us. Over and above this, the G.B.C. concoctions have let loose Pandora's Box of deviations, leading to the emergence of splinter groups, all of which are pushing apa-siddhäntas, have wrong affiliations, and are engaged in pseudo-devotional processes of initiations. The “ISKCON” Governing Body is powerless to stop them, because it created the initial heresy that has led to the blossoming of these other unauthorized cults and sects, following in its footsteps.
STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP
Cable to All Temple Presidents
April 6, 1972
YOUR MATERIAL LEGAL FORMULA WILL NOT HELP US STOP ONLY OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE CAN HELP US STOP HAMSADUTTA MUST RETURN GERMANY IMMEDIATELY AND DON’T LEAVE AGAIN STOP ÄTREYA RISHI HAS NO AUTHORITY FROM ME TO MANAGE ANYTHING STOP REMOVE HIM STOP I HAVE NO APPROVAL FOR ANY THESE PLANS STOP DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING STOP
Memo to All Presidents
April 8, 1972
“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. . . This has very much disturbed me. Çrémän Ätreya Åñi däs may be very expert, but, without my say, he has been given so much power, and this has upset my brain. I also understand that immediate actions are going to take place even prior to my permission, and that, also, 'without divulging to the devotees(!)'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.You manage your affairs peacefully and independently, and try to improve the spiritual atmosphere of the centers more carefully. I shall be very glad to know the names of your assistants, such as Secretary, Treasurer and Accountant. Finally, I beg to repeat thatALL G.B.C. ORDERS ARE SUSPENDED HEREWITH BY ME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.”
Now, there are some sentimental (or even fanatical) arguments that can be made—and certainly will be made--concerning these quotations from the telegram and the memo, and pseudo-devotional dissemblers proffering such arguments will have them all center around one theme: The whole episode is an irrelevant chapter from the past. In point of fact, it is anything but, because their tendency to concoct and deviate, as evidenced by this incident in early 1972, has not whatsoever merged into oblivion.
The dissemblers will further argue that it has, but that quibble is spurious. The initial tendencies of the G.B.C. to attempt power grabs (even while Prabhupäda was still physically present) has increased exponentially since his disappearance, and, as such, the telegram and memo are still cent-per-cent as relevant today as they were in early 1972 during that managerial crisis.
There is a great deal to be gleaned from the telegram and the memo. Let us begin with telegram: “Only our spiritual life can help us.” Right there, we are enlightened that all this struggle to determine the final authority in Kåñëa consciousness can never be defined in terms of managerial considerations or material legal formulas. These are the speciality of the vitiated G.B.C. and the massive bureaucracy buffering it, of course, but they are of no value when the underlying foundation of spiritual life is not present, which it isn't. Such institutional managers are engaged in covering Kåñëa consciousness in the name of spreading it, and these buggers will not desist as long as they believe that they can continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the devotees who remain duped by them (“without divulging to the devotees”).
The final authority in Kåñëa consciousness is guru, çästra, and sädhu, not managerial hierarchies. The G.B.C. for Germany in 1972 was one of the chief architects behind the unauthorized plan to centralize all of the American movement's collections under the auspices of Ätreya Åñi and his investment house in New York City. Çréla Prabhupäda immediately spotted this discrepancy. As such, His Divine Grace ordered that commissioner back to Germany, i.e., he had no jurisdiction in making any such arrangements in America. None of their plans was approved by Prabhupäda, and he was not even informed of that ad hoc meeting in New York, which comprised only two-thirds of the G.B.C. members (with the other third not even being informed of it).
“Don't Change Anything.” But that's all the vitiated G.B.C. has done since Çréla Prabhupäda left us: Change, change, change. New, new, new. Concoction after concoction after concoction with rationalization after rationalization after rationalization for all these schemes, especially when they fail. The tendency to try something new and to then make an unauthorized change is woven into the fabric of the great Western adventure, but this mentality is counter-productive to advancement in devotional life as per our line of disciplic succession. So, Prabhupäda closes the telegram with that warning.
Proceeding to the memo, it presents more details concerning the centralization scheme, but we need not emphasize any of that. Really, there is but one lesson to be learned from the memo, and it should be ingrained into the intelligence of every single devotee of His Divine Grace: The G.B.C. is not absolute. The memo proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
You cannot suspend anything that is absolute, but Çréla Prabhupäda suspended the power of the G.B.C. completely in April of 1972. The Direction of Management, which is the charter and constitution of the governing body, specifically details that Prabhupäda is above the G.B.C., and, in the memo to all temple presidents, that is proven conclusively. He overcame and overturned the unauthorized scheme, which he disproved of and which, in effect, he condemned. Then, as punishment, he took away (suspended) all the managerial power of the G.B.C. and re-delegated it back to the temple presidents.
This fact is both clear and undeniable. The Will does not grant the G.B.C. absolute power; it instead grants them managerial final authority within the jurisdiction of their particular organization. Absolute spiritual power is beyond what was granted them in their charter, i.e., it is not within the power of the G.B.C. to determine and rule over anything which is absolute, according to its vastu, and is cent-per-cent spiritual.
If the G.B.C. had been absolute—if Prabhupäda had empowered it to be so (and there must certainly be doubt as to whether any guru could empower such an entity in that way)--then he could not have suspended its operation. Yet, he did just that, didn't he? And its members all acquiesced to him when he did so, didn't they? He gave them a well-deserved slap, and the temple presidents were thus enjoined to disregard anything the G.B.C. may have ordered. This, in and of itself, constitutes conclusive evidence that the G.B.C. was nothing more than a managerial experiment that had gone awry in 1972.
It would deviate far worse in the spring of 1978.
The G.B.C. Does Not Look After Spiritual Life
“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. All of our students will have to become guru, but they are not qualified. This is the difficulty.”
“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?”
“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.. . . The G.B.C. men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the G.B.C. members first. A G.B.C. member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage . . .”
The experiment to manage ISKCON in a better way was launched in the last week of July, 1970. It was supposed to breathe new life into the movement in terms of an internationally coordinated management, but it was also supposed to bring relief to Çréla Prabhupäda, who was besieged daily by management questions from his temple presidents. This entity appeared to be empowered to some extent by Prabhupäda, but, as is made clear by the above quotation (August, 1971), it was an experiment. The entity came to life in the summer of 1970, but then the experiment went awry: The creation became a Frankenstein which continues to stalk all of us.
Management was not the only advice that the G.B.C. was meant to give to the temple presidents and the rest of the devotees. It was also supposed to have consisted of the topmost brähmins in Prabhupäda's movement, who were to look after the spiritual life of all the devotees. However, it did not do that either (“The G.B.C. does not look after spiritual life.That is a defect.”). Instead, its members, in a kind of Machiavellian fashion, manipulated the body to primarily look after their own self interests
His Divine Grace wanted relief from managerial questions being daily brought to his attention by temple presidents, as well as by some of his initiated disciples who were not part of the management. He thus created the G.B.C. in order to give him that relief, but, as quoted above (Sept., 1974), it soon wound up giving him even more anxiety than previous to its creation:
“I set up the G.B.C. with hope that I shall get relief from administration of the mission, but, on the contrary, I have become the center of receiving so many complaints. So, it is not a relief for me . . .”
“But the difficulty is that our G.B.C. men are falling victim to Mäyä. Today, I trust this G.B.C., and tomorrow he will fall down. That is the difficulty. . . If the G.B.C. men can ever manage properly, then I shall get some time for writing my books.”
“I appoint G.B.C. for peaceful management of affairs, and now you are creating disturbances amongst yourselves. So how can I be peaceful to translate my work?”
“My only grievance is that I appointed G.B.C. to give me relief from the management but, on the contrary, complaints and counter-complaints are coming to me. Then how my brain can be peaceful?”
The G.B.C. did not provide relief for him; that was directly expressed in all of these excerpts. He also said that G.B.C. mal-administration of the mission caused him to not be able to take adequate time for translation work and commentary (remember, he did not complete his translation and purports to the Bhägavatam). He says that the G.B.C. disturbed his peace, particularly since its members were infighting (“how can my brain be peaceful?”).
These are all self-evident quotes, and he lodged these complaints beginning in 1971 and continued making them practically to the end of 1975. After that, starting no later than 1976, Çréla Prabhupäda was relegated to little more than a figurehead, and, in the opinion of many of his disciples, had given up on the men who ran his movement by that time. As far as 1977 is concerned, he was incapacitated during almost all of it, evidenced by the fact that he only wrote sixteen letters from June through September (in years previously, he had often dictated that many letters in the space of three days).
“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.”
“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.. . . The G.B.C. men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the G.B.C. members first. A G.B.C. member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage . . .”
The wrong idea that the G.B.C. is the ultimate and absolute authority in spiritual and devotional life—at least, as far as active membership in the branch of the sampradäya established by Prabhupäda is concerned—is herein debunked. It was never in the power of the G.B.C. to exert such absolute authority; that is clearly stated in the August, 1971 letter.
Its representatives were meant to primarily be advisers and overseers. They were supposed to set the devotional example and assist in maintaining the devotional standard at all the centers in their zones. They were supposed to be brähmins and not overlords. They were never meant to create a massive bureaucracy in order to buffer the monopoly of power stolen by them for decades now from the rest of the movement. The experimental stage never turned the corner, and now we are under the albatross of an entity claiming absolute power when, in point of fact, it has no spiritual authority.
“The standards I have already given you, now try to maintain them at all times under standard procedure. Do not try to innovate or create anything or manufacture anything; that will ruin everything.”
“So, in the G.B.C. agenda, I do not find any such programs for reforming our past bad habits.”
When he says here that manufacturing will ruin everything, we should not interpret it figuratively nor should we interpret it through the scope of lakñaëä-våtti or gauëa-våtti. We should accept it as it is, viz., we should accept the direct interpretation, the mukhya-våtti. Over and above this, we should apply that mukhya-våtti and thus see that the standard procedure has not been maintained; instead, the Hinduization of “ISKCON” has amounted to a major, unauthorized innovation that has ruined everything, even at the basic level. The G.B.C. power-mongers had no agenda to reform their bad habits from their own individual pasts, and all kinds of new bad habits have now institutionally become imbedded in the movement, spawned from the very top.
“. . . collect the opinions of each and every G.B.C. member and, if the majority supports the idea, then it should be taken as a fact for being carried out in our Society. The majority vote and my opinion should be taken. When the majority opinion is present, my opinion will be ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In most cases it will be ‘yes,’unless it is grievously against our principles.”
“. . . why it is mentioned my 79th birthday. It is my 80th birthday. That is correct. You do not know this? One of the G.B.C. articles says 79th birthday. Big G.B.C. man, so many editors, and it is not detected? You are all müòhas. What can I do?”
What level of confidence did His Divine Grace have in his “best men”? Very little, evidently. If he actually considered them reliable (“Today, I trust this G.B.C., and tomorrow he will fall down. That is the difficulty.”), then he would not have written, in the letter quoted above (Aug., 1971), that he would usually approve of a resolution passed by the Commission “unless it is grievously against our principles.” How could advanced brähmins actually produce any resolution which was grievously against the devotional principles?
Yet, that is just what they have done over the years, particularly since Prabhupäda left the scene. For example, one of their chief pundits and institutional heavyweights at this time has recently introduced the unauthorized principle of Stargate “ISKCON,” along with the apa-siddhänta that the G.B.C. is the successor to Çréla Prabhupäda.
Notice also, as late as August, 1975, that the G.B.C. claimed to honor Prabhupäda on his 79th birthday, when, in actuality, it was his 80th birthday. He called them “all müòhas.” So much for the “best men” bromide, which was never anything more than an arthaväda.
“I had no intimation that you all G.B.C. members have met and decided such big, big issues without consulting me. So, I have issued one letter in this regard to all of you, and you may take note that I consider that both the meeting and the resolution is irregular and immediately there should be no change. . . 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. So what is this? I don’t know.”
“The meeting of the G.B.C. appeared to be very unconstitutional, because all the men were not informed or invited. . . And I am surprised that none of the G.B.C. members detected the defects in the procedure. It was detected only when it came to me.What will happen when I am not here, shall everything be spoiled by G.B.C.?”
Although these two excerpts from the letters are related to the earlier conspiracy (by eight of the commissioners in 1972), their (the letters) relevancy is not limited to that incident. We should note that Prabhupäda hits the nail on the head when he says, “simply by agreement you have changed everything.” Technically, they did not change everything when they attempted to manipulate the way that collected funds were deposited in accounts (via a centralization scheme centering around an investment firm). However, that was a big enough innovation to, in actuality, change everything. Why? Because its malefic effect, once implemented, would immediately warp everything else.
How relevant this realization is for today! So many changes have been made to the movement since the creation of the G.B.C., and these changes (by commission and omission) have had devastating effects. What to speak of being afflicted by the “ISKCON” larva that covers every kértan, can you any longer worship an installed Deity at any of the “ISKCON” temples without also (at least, indirectly) being invultuated by altar desecration?
They have made, at the G.B.C. level, mutual agreements benefiting one another that have severely compromised the integrity of the spiritual system bestowed upon us by His Divine Grace. So many unauthorized changes over time have been made, especially in terms of determining who can and cannot be an initiating spiritual master in Prabhupäda's branch of the disciplic succession. The Commission also affects everything via dereliction of duty (omission), e.g., by not putting a stop to massive changes to Prabhupäda's books.
Have none of the G.B.C.s detected how Hindoo-ized their movement has now become? Have none of the G.B.C.s come to grips with the root issues that continue (and will continue) to plague their “ISKCON” movement? Have none of them detected the dishonesty at the root of all they have imposed upon everyone dedicated to Prabhupäda's mission? Perhaps many (or all of them) have known about these things all along, and they just don't give a damn! Do they really think they can ultimately pull off their scam?
Çréla Prabhupäda left us in late 1977, and he is no longer here to arbitrate controversial issues. However, his words are still with us, and we should heed them. His words present this rhetorical question: “What will happen when I am not here, shall everything be spoiled by G.B.C.?” The answer is self-evident, and the experimental stage has run its course. Now we must move on to the next stage by exposing this vitiated G.B.C. for just what it is.
Splinter Groups Let Loose From Pandora's Box
“Even in the heavens, war is hell.”
“. . . it is a deviation from our line of paramparä. Rather, avoiding faultfinding and anarchy, they should keep our standards and work maturely and not cause factions and splitting.”
As you may have understood by now, “ISKCON” has, for some time, gone its own way. This has created a hellish situation for many devotees, particularly in the West. If this was the end of it, that would be bad enough—but it’s not. A movement that was supposed to have created a divine atmosphere on earth, leading far beyond the sphere of svarga to eternal reward in the transcendental world, has instead warped into a broken arrow, cheating many sincere and serious devotees who previously had dedicated their lives to it.
As a result, there is now a kind of war raging on. It rages between those who have realized “ISKCON” for the counterfeit it is and those who maintain that, despite what they call its growing pains, the cult, and especially its governing body, is still cent-per-cent bona fide.
Cause and effect are factually one, because the cause is always present in the effect. Çréla Prabhupäda, on a couple of occasions, called the commissioners his right-hand men or even his “best men.” Other devotees considered them to be spiritually advanced, pure, and powerful—although this was not a view universally held by the real workers in the movement. Esteemed as great, whatever action such leaders take, the lower echelon bamboozled by them will naturally follow; whatever standard they set by their acts, such admirers will pursue in one way or another.
Those who were not at the top level of leadership saw that the commissioners, most then in the sannyäsa order by the late Seventies, were doing their own thing. As such, these second echelon admirers (although they did not remain admirers for very long) imitated them, but in their own way, i.e., they concocted another new standard.
This led to the first of three schisms; since the G.B.C. consummated the first split, the first schism was a splintering of one deviation into a second. Some background is called for here. A most influential delegation of the G.B.C., in March of 1978, approached the Gauòéya Maöha for advice and, at least indirectly, direction and authorization. This was done in Navadvépa. A senior member of the Gauòéya Maöha there, considered one amongst only a few of Prabhupäda’s godbrothers favorable to him, was approached for guidance.
Swämé B. R. Çrédhar gave quite a bit of it, and thus we had the apocalypse known as the zonal äcärya era. Its so-called justification was explained in a position paper—fully authorized by the governing body—written by one of the eleven zonal äcäryas. This position paper was released and distributed throughout the international centers of the movement. It announced that a new program had been determined “in consultation with higher authorities.” The plural was not required, as only the bad advice of Swämé B. R. Çrédhar was actually referenced. Although one other Maöha leader in Mathurä had also been briefly consulted, the “higher authority” behind the new program was this senior Gauòéya Maöha guru of Navadvépa.
If the media makes you, the media can break you. As clashes emerged in the late Seventies and early Eighties—all connected to the so-called appointment of “ISKCON” gurus–the Navadvépa mahant eventually transmogrified into the ultimate source to be approached for explanations of, and answers to, all such problems. This undermined the G.B.C., but the motives of those other men (who apparently supplicated to the mahant) were far from pure. They had now realized that the power of the G.B.C. was under the de facto control of its Äcärya Board, which remained adamant not to expand its list of initiating spiritual masters. These other men, however, wanted to be dékñä-gurus, so they created agitation, using the elderly Gauòéya Maöha leader as a prop.
Based on the specifics provided to him by these former loyalists to “ISKCON,” the Navadvépa mahant made it clear that he did not approve of what the eleven were doing within their zones. Still, and despite having to suspend (or even revoke) the spiritual master title from three of their own, the renegade Äcärya Board kept itself as a monopoly (until 1983), the sole power determining initiations in “ISKCON.”
This precipitated the first schism.
There is no need to provide the details of how it went down, as we are looking to understand it from a deeper perspective. A significant number of second-echelon men–-presidents of major centers, sannyäsés, and the like–-defected from “ISKCON” to the Gauòéya camp, and thus there emerged the initial splinter group. This bunch has gone through permutations over the decades, but, from the gate, it was very different not only from its nemesis (“ISKCON”) but also from Prabhupäda’s genuine movement.
Ironically, in terms of siddhänta, “ISKCON” has not deviated that much from Çréla Prabhupäda. Its differences with him are primarily these: 1) not following his orders; 2) wrecking the genuine initiation process of the yoga system; 3) incorporation of the Governing Body in the Nineties; 4) failure to stop massive changes to his books; 5) recognition of an arbitrary hierarchy; 6) establishment of a massive bureaucracy, and 7) historical mal-interpretation and disinformation about what has transpired since 1972. As far as the Hinduization of “ISKCON” is concerned, that amounts to much more than a mere difference; it is nothing short of a complete cultural change.
When many senior “ISKCON” men defected to the Gauòéya Maöha in the early Eighties, they adopted that group’s mood, its scriptural conclusions, its offensive view of Prabhupäda, its historical interpretation of everything connected to devotional service, and, of course, the Gauòéya Maöha style. All of these were and remain irreconcilably opposed to what His Divine Grace has given us. Again, the specifics connected to siddhänta and apa-siddhänta will not be presented here, as we are simply concerned with the overview. Every honest devotee—and even some die-hard adherents of “ISKCON”—will admit that the Gauòéya Maöha style, mood, siddhänta, etc., neither matches nor harmonizes with Prabhupäda’s presentation of Kåñëa consciousness.
The idea that Prabhupäda actually apologized for offenses to his godbrothers, when taken literally, is itself a major gurvaparädha. A madhyama-adhikäré does not commit any kind of offense, what to speak of an uttama-adhikäré, the çaktyäveça-avatära or World Äcärya. The idea that Prabhupäda was historically little more than a point man for bringing seekers to the Gauòéya Maöha stinks to a degree intolerable for any his real devotees to bear.
Although the first schism has what it calls a World Vaiñëava Association that assembles annually in Mathurä, the so-called äcäryas of the group all operate on their own. They sometimes take disaffected and bewildered people from “ISKCON” and initiate them into their own camps. They do not recognize the hierarchy of “ISKCON,” and, in one key area of siddhänta, they make big counter-propaganda . . . and they are dead wrong about it.
They work against “ISKCON” on the exoteric as well as on the intermediate plane, but virtually all of them would have no interest in cooperation with real Kåñëa consciousness, despite favoring the hope that “ISKCON” slides into an abyss of its own well-deserved oblivion. The new Gauòéya facsimile has abandoned Çréla Prabhupäda; it is a splinter group that will not approach the size of “ISKCON.” There will be no unification, either.
We must all abhor the parent Gauòéya Maöha, which mostly abandoned Çréla Prabhupäda, never significantly cooperated with him, and always held him in disdain. That first schism of the early Eighties has simply increased the complexity of the situation. That schism is a Westernized version of the repugnant Gauòéya Maöha, which Prabhupäda condemned in both his purports and letters, forbidding association with it by the mid-Seventies.
The final schisms are not deserving of any extensive examination, as, at their roots, the deviations underlying them are rather obvious. About two and one-half decades ago, words and phrases in two different places in Çréla Prabhupäda’s Will and his rittvik directive (the letter of July, 1977) were misused to screw out a new and cent-per-cent unauthorized process for carrying on the bhakti-sampradäya. As his movement expanded, Prabhupäda was unable to conduct any ceremonies for new disciples approved by him for initiation. As such, he again appointed officiating äcäryas to conduct all of that on his behalf. This was not actually an innovation, because, for Vedic sacrifices, it is a common and standard procedure; indeed, Prabhupäda, the dékñä-guru, was previously present at many of these initiation ceremonies throughout the Seventies conducted by rittviks right in front of him.
However, following in the footsteps of their former “ISKCON” leaders–who had also taken three other words out of context from the Will—a so-called new dispensation (but actually an apa-sampradäya) sprang up, almost out of nowhere. It cited terms such as “henceforward” and “my initiated disciples” to concoct a fabulous interpretation that Prabhupäda, even after having left external manifestation, remains the dékñä guru for everyone initiated thereafter. Some of these sub-cults opine that this idea is to be implemented for thousands of years, while others say it stays in place only on a limited basis.
Then, near the middle of the first decade of this century, cyberspace became home to the fourth schism, as could only be expected. This one emanates from an online daily newspaper, which, in the name and under the guise of free speech, posts so much garbage as legitimate Vaiñëava opinion. Most who regularly post on this site—rather, who are allowed to post on it, because its much-ballyhooed principle of free speech is withdrawn from those who call out its chief editor for his wrong views—kowtow to whatever conclusions conducive to the editor's agenda the online rag pushes.
The intricacies of this complex of continuous chatter will not receive any trenchant analysis here. Despite that site’s mixed animus regarding the previously mentioned deviations, it is also engaged in misleading everyone who foolishly considers it a spiritual alternative to the institutional madness now oppressing us from all the other splinter groups.
The program of the ruling class of “ISKCON” is not threatened by any of these splinter groups, as they are all part of the same hypocrisy. “ISKCON” is instead subtly aided by each of them. The darkness and pain “ISKCON” continues to bring to the planet—acutely for those trapped in its labyrinth—can be readily dissipated if and/or when its nescience is realized on a large scale. It will never be seen by those advocating for reform of the G.B.C. Those reformers are simply enablers, and all the deviations will continue to flourish unabated if we fall for the hope-against-hope fantasy of reform.
However, this realization is effectively occluded by the other splinter groups, as they actually act as buffers for the G.B.C. and its “ISKCON” extension. They engage in this disservice despite the attacks, in a variety of incompetent ways, each of new heresies regularly makes against the parent deviation.
None of those groups damages “ISKCON” at any profound level. Indeed, therethey all serve there to shield it. The vitiated G.B.C. effectively uses these nonsense groups as foils, and “ISKCON” chelas, unable to understand the forest for the trees, cower at the prospect of not swallowing the pabulum that the cult’s “gurus” spoon feed them, fearing victimization (such as joining one of these other deviations) as back-door punishment.
The many gentle and peace-loving young men and women who joined Çréla Prabhupäda back in the late Sixties and early Seventies now recoil in horror and disillusionment at what is going on. Shining a light on “ISKCON,” lifting the rock covering it in order to expose what is going on underneath, is necessary. Spiritual life is undoubtedly difficult, but such an expose helps us.
We must not waste valuable time going after any of the latter-day schisms. Only when pseudo-devotional recrudescence is finally exposed can genuine Kåñëa consciousness once again re-emerge. This message is not all peaches and cream–-not at this stage, anyway. The hippies may have been peace-loving, but, at its core, the hippie movement was very pessimistic. That is one of the reasons that some of them came to Kåñëa consciousness. As such, there is no need to try to cover over how pessimistic we must realistically now be due to these four deviations from the Vedic and Vaiñëava standards. The introduction of irreligious principles by “ISKCON,” Rittvik, Neo-Mutt, and Solar Smorgasbord have been effective in seducing low-information bhaktas and bhaktins, but we shall not give up the fight just because of that. Such irreligious principles will be ever-operative throughout this age of quarrel, hypocrisy, and deception.
Some hippies and a few others were able to experience a brief moment in time when Çréla Prabhupäda, through the purity of his unprecedented aura, gave us a taste of heaven on earth. That stage is long gone. Now, we have arrived at a bad place, where opposing splinter groups battle for supremacy. “ISKCON” is the big kahuna, and its institutional imposition must first be confronted, exposed, and defeated. Some innocent and sincere people—although not sincere enough—are still being duped by it, and that has got to stop. The “ISKCON” racket must be known for just what it is. This message, despite being factual and timely, is brutal and unpalatable, but only the unintelligent would choose to attack the messenger for delivering it.
Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust