Basic Transcript of February, 2019 Video
There Can Be No Compromise

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

OÀ NAMO BHAGAVATE VÄSUDEVAYA

After Śrīla Prabhupāda departed in late 1977, six more major deviations by the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation were still yet to come. These made many devotees even more blind to what we now need to recover, namely, a rational conception of the movement’s accurate history. This entails inquiry as to where it, only apparently, is in sync with the guru-paramparā. In point of fact, it does not tally with any genuine disciplic succession whatsoever.

As a starting point, the ideal of Kṛṣṇa conscious rationality is the working principles of buddhi-yoga, and they are never implicated in dead-end philosophy. Three major deviations (in the first years after Prabhupāda departed) attempted to kill that buddhi-yoga, and the attempt was somewhat successful. The eleven pretender mahābhāgavats imposed upon the movement their vision, which they claimed was perfect and absolute and, in effect, transcendental to rationality.

As long as their impositions were not confronted with the working principles of buddhi-yoga to expose their rascaldom, what abuses--physical, astral, and/or pseudo-spiritual--might not the “ISKCON” hierarchy commit? What will they not cover up if they are not confronted now? Where, if anywhere, is there a line that the current crop of pretenders will not cross? Considering what they have already done to Prabhupāda’s movement, what atrocity is beyond the pale for them?

They may cry “love and trust” every now and then, but that trust was shattered in March of 1978. It is your host speaker’s duty to report that fact—the most egregious deviation--along with, in this presentation, two other major deviations that sandwiched it within the same time-frame. There will be no compromised version of historical reality here, and the facts of what really went down will speak for themselves.

The entrenched “ISKCON” establishment will continue to ignore all of this, but, in due course, they will be threatened by it—and rightly so. Their organized religion was converted into an institutional delusion. We are far past the point of any effective reform, as “ISKCON” deviations are too mainstream to rectify now.

Still, you need to know the history of what created the current paradigm. Only a few months after Prabhupāda departed, the seventh major deviation began when some of his leading secretaries approached Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar in Navadvīpa. There, they received some very bad advice. After that description, we shall proceed to the eighth deviation, namely, the imposition of the zonal ācāryas, the eleven great pretenders, precipitated and propelled, in no small part, by that previous so-called “consultation with a higher authority.”

We shall close with the ninth major deviation, although most devotees do not recognize its importance. Some have not even heard about it. Once the fact became known that there was no appointment of gurus made by Prabhupāda, the ninth deviation was the fall-back which rationalized why the imposition was still bona fide.

However, we must discuss something else first. In the last week of December, 1977, only six weeks after Prabhupāda departed physical manifestation, Kīrtanānanda Swāmi began taking uttama-adhikārī worship and initiating new disciples at his rural compound just outside Moundsville, West Virginia. He did not consult the Governing Body Commission before making this decision and taking this action.

He accepted worship from everyone there, including his own godbrothers and godsisters. Certainly, there was considerable psychic pressure on all the devotees to engage in this worship, but the vast majority of them were already accustomed to a form of it, because they believed that Kīrtanānanda Swāmi was a pure devotee.

His so-called “New Vrindāvan” compound was rather insular, and word of this program did not spread throughout the movement; indeed, most of Prabhupāda’s initiates in all of the other temples in America (what to speak of internationally) had no idea that Kīrtanānanda had jumped the shark and was initiating disciples and taking worship reserved for the rare mahābhāgavat.

However, ISKCON leaders, naturally, soon became aware of it. The issue was whether or not ISKCON should allow Kīrtanānanda to continue it. Confronting him at that time would have probably wound up producing a conflagration, because it was well known that the fellow did his own thing and had little, if any, respect for other senior men.

Another way of saying the same thing is that Kīrtanānanda took direction from no one. In his manuscript exposing the 1978 imposition, the dissident Sulochan--destined to be assassinated in the spring of 1986 by one of Kīrtanānanda’s trained enforcers--asked the following question: “Has anyone ever seen Kīrtanānanda pay his obeisances to any of his godbrothers?” Kīrtanānanda TOOK obeisances. He did not give them.

The weak leaders of ISKCON decided to let the Moundsville program go on. They decided to ride it out until Māyāpur and settle any controversy there. That was probably a big mistake on their part, but the question is: Did Kīrtanānanda’s action constitute a major deviation? Did it actually spawn, in a big way, the development of the “ISKCON” confederation? Did it constitute a deviation integral to the conversion of the ISKCON institution into a sahajiyā movement?

In terms of negative and affirmative, solid arguments could be made on both sides. On the side that it did constitute a major event and deviation, it obviously influenced all of the other rittviks to follow his lead. Otherwise, they would have had to have taken him on in Māyāpur by insisting that they were all only regular gurus, under regulation of vidhi-bhakti. As we all know, they opted for the path of least resistance.

In reality, Kīrtanānanda’s action had limited influence. We do not know how it would have played out if the G.B.C. had confronted him, because they did not do so. But did his egotistical, narcissistic pretension constitute a CHIEF reason why the other “ten little Indian boys” (as Kīrtanānanda pejoratively referred to them) why they accepted the zonal ācārya paradigm? Or was his jumping the gun nothing more than a marginal influence?

We get a hint by remembering that, in the mid-Eighties, the G.B.C. finally DID confront Kīrtanānanda. How did that play out? By the mid-Nineties, Kīrtanānanda no longer controlled, and then, was no longer even was allowed to live at his Shangrila in the Woods. He was driven out, and the G.B.C. was primarily responsible. In other words, Kīrtanānanda could have caused some ruckus for a brief time in 1978 if the G.B.C. had demanded then that he capitulate and act only as a regular guru.
However, as we know, they all opted for the extravagant worship program, along with the division of the world into eleven zones as quasi-monarchical fiefdoms, along with control of the Commish in the form of the “Ācārya Board.” Kīrtanānanda influenced some decisions by the governing body in 1978--but only at the margins. He was not a conclusive factor in the devolution of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement at that time.

The Vanity Fair Despot was never going to be any kind of regular guru, despite the fact that that was all that Prabhupāda ever authorized. Let us also not forget that he authorized regular guru only in a generic way. He never recognized or appointed any of his disciples as dīkṣā-gurus. Kīrtanānanda wanted the whole enchilada, and he simply decided to take it. The other ten took similar action, but they waited for the institutional imprimatur from the G.B.C. before they began to be worshiped as rubber-stamped mahā-sahajiyās.

The former Keith Ham was a sideshow in the late Seventies. The G.B.C. was more powerful than he was. Indeed, there was another far more powerful influence than him which did produce the fateful deviation of March, 1978.

Let us now discuss two important reasons for that deviation, which history will show had more negative impact than Kīrtanānanda’s antics at his woodland playground. Previous to the Māyāpur conclave, a number of senior men and leading secretaries paid visits to Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar at his Gouḍīya Mutt in Navadvīpa, West Bengal. This man was a senior godbrother to Śrīla Prabhupāda, and he was quite influential during the heyday of the Mutt. He also proved very influential just after Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta left physical manifestation in early 1937.

Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar had been one of the thirteen original commissioners on that cult’s appointed governing body, which, most unfortunately, elected another member of the commission, Ānanta Vāsudeva, also a sannyāsī, as the sole Ācārya and successor to their spiritual master, Siddhānta Sarasvātī. The vote was 8-5, and Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar voted in favor of that appointment.

This created a major schism in the Mutt, as the other five, led by a very influential money-man, administrator, and confidante of Śrīla Sarasvātī, disagreed vehemently with the appointment and broke away. Ānanta Vāsudeva, in due course of time, left the sannyāsa order, acrimoniously ditched the Gouḍīya Mutt, spoke against the teachings and the organization of his spiritual master, rejected him, and came to a most inglorious end which need not be described here.

In 1978, with Prabhupāda no longer part of the scene, his foolish leading men—at least, many of them—decided to consult Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar for direction as to how they were to conduct the ISKCON mission after the passing of its Founder-Ācārya. As it turned out, they got very, very bad advice from him on at least three occasions. As one of my godbrothers put it some years later, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar was instrumental in destroying one devotional branch (the Gouḍīya Mutt) and then, forty years later, he did the same thing to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s branch.

The number of meetings that went down between different groups of Prabhupāda’s senior initiated disciples and the Navadvīpa mahant is difficult to ascertain. That number is not important to know. What is important is what he told them and what they then bought into and implemented.

Transcripts of the talks he had with various sets of devotees were available to senior disciples in the ISKCON movement. Your host speaker, being the personal secretary for a governing body commissioner in the spring of 1978, had access to either most or all of those transcripts at that time when they were first circulated.

What was contained in them was both foreboding and even a bit shocking. Besides those transcripts of the room conversations in Navadvīpa, one of the eleven pretender mahābhāgavats—designated by the G.B.C. to do so--penned a position paper, which gave a cursory explanation of the “new guru” program. It discussed the zonal ācārya system that was then being implemented, as well as justifications and rationalizations for why it was allegedly bona fide. Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar, in terms of his bad advice, was central to those justifications. As a matter of fact, that position paper contained the subtitle: “In Consultation With Higher Authorities.”

That the final noun was put in plural was a stretch, to say the least. The only so-called authority who was consulted and summarily quoted in this position paper, written by Satsvarūpa, was Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar. His directives, such as the concept of a zonal ācārya, as well as his philosophical slogans, provided fertile ground for the ambitious seeds of the deviant upstarts, the eleven pretender mahābhāgavats, to sprout—and sprout they did, very quickly.

In their first visit to him, the initial contingent of leading secretaries and sannyāsīs were asked about the basis of the eleven gurus, which, by that time, had either been recognized as gurus or were on the verge of being so. Was there a direct order? The reply to the Navadvīpa mahant was that the eleven had been appointed as rittvik-ācāryas. To this, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar replied, “Rittvik-ācārya, then it becomes as good as ācārya.” The meaning of this ditty was not difficult to ascertain, namely, that the rittviks appointed by Prabhupāda in July had AUTOMATICALLY been converted into full-blown dīkṣā-gurus upon the founder’s disappearance.

This played right into T.K.G.’s plan, which—at least, short-term—worked like a charm. On many bulletin boards throughout the movement, there had already been pinned a paper mixing the rittviks (from July, 1977) with the “new gurus.” The devotees at large were unable to differentiate them. All eleven were understood—or rather, misunderstood—to have been appointed. In this, but one of his catchy phrases or slogans--some of which were even a bit intoxicating--Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar therein gave his stamp of approval to the scheme.

There was also his worn Bengali slogan: mat guru si jagat guru. In this gem, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar instructs all the assembled fools that the disciple must see his guru as a jagad-guru, which is another term for a mahābhāgavat. Without such—in this case, false—faith, the disciple allegedly cannot remain loyal to his spiritual master. Then he went on to further explain, “It is to deceive the disciple.” Such great advice! Promoting DECEPTION as integral to spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness and the guru-disciple relationship, so-called.

He also applied a wartime analogy, in which posters in India had read: “Just put on the uniform, and you will become the soldier.” This was applied to the eleven new gurus, who had now been urged—actually, enjoined—to pretend to be uttama-adhikārīs, accepting worship equal to what Prabhupāda had accepted. Just cut the profile, the Swāmi urged. Walk the walk and talk the talk, although you and some of your godbrothers will know who you actually are and what you pretend to be.

However, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar’s two most significant contributions—or, more accurately, final kicks to Prabhupāda’s branch of the Caitanya line—were the concoctions of zonal ācārya and the Ācārya Board within the G.B.C.. The Navadvīpa mahant urged the ISKCON leaders to implement zones for their gurus, who had now each been magically transformed into the sum total of all of the demigods. They must each have their own zones in the world, similar to what they possessed as governing body commissioners. Genuine gurus are never limited like that nor are they supposed to claim control of any specific geographical territory. But the Swāmi opined otherwise, and that bad advice was swallowed—hook, line, and sinker.

Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar also told one of the groups who visited him—and similarly got poisoned by his intoxicating and bad advice—that a guru cannot be subject to correction or control by anyone. By this he meant—and it was specifically made clear—that the G.B.C. could not tell any of the “new gurus” what they could or could not do. They were G-U-R-U-S! They were to be worshiped on the highest level! How could any of the other commissioners--or anyone else--have any say in the matter of how they conducted their missions?

As such, the Ācārya Board was created within the G.B.C. It was almost certainly voted into existence, which meant that some of the non-gurus—of course, they were all non-gurus—also must have voted for it. The Ācārya Board was sort of a governing commission within the G.B.C. and was not subject to G.B.C. rulings or mandates. This was cent-per-cent against how the G.B.C. was supposed to operate. Yet, the “new gurus” saw that it was certainly to their advantage, so they made sure that this Ācārya Board became an ontological entity, but it did not last long.

I have a question.

Bhakta Ernest.

“Wasn’t Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar supposed to be approached, according to Prabhupāda’s authorization, for direction as to how to implement initiations after his disappearance? Didn’t he also authorize that for philosophical direction, as well?”

Where is the PROOF of this? That everyone was led to believe that Prabhupāda gave some kind of directive similar to what you speak of here, where can we verify that he did so? Not just by word of mouth, but by direct evidence. Was there any tape recording of this so-called directive? Any mention of it in a letter? Any document? There is no such proof. This belief in some kind of last-days room conversation directive from Prabhupāda to go to Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar cannot be substantiated in any tangible way other than the old, hackneyed, “Prabhupāda said.”

Over and above this, why was his bad advice and philosophy accepted? Judge by the results. The results that ensued as a consequence of following his bad advice more or less totally corrupted Prabhupāda’s movement. None of that quackery was authorized in Prabhupāda’s books or letters. Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar mucked up the movement in a very big way, but, in the beginning, everybody—or almost everybody—bought into what he peddled, and they implemented it.

They did so for a variety of reasons, but they were under no obligation to have done that. They were, instead, duty-bound to have rejected his unauthorized philosophy. With the exception of the Neo-Mutt wildcards, virtually everyone readily admits now that NONE of his advice should have been accepted. It was the duty of Prabhupāda’s senior men to have protected his movement and his devotees from having been led down that yellow brick road to the abyss of the First Transformation.

TATTVAMASI

Vāsu Gopāl has a question.

Vāsu Gopāl.

“Since he was Prabhupāda’s elder godbrother, I heard we are not supposed to criticize Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar. Didn’t Prabhupāda even say that he accepted him as his śikṣā-guru? Even if there was some flaw to it, isn’t it an offense to point out anything Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar said or did in relation to our movement?”

That is the etiquette, granted. However, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar, from his end, breached that etiquette in a very big way. He was never authorized by Vaiṣṇava etiquette to have interfered with Prabhupāda’s movement to the extent that he did and in the way that he did. He even re-initiated one of Prabhupāda’s disciples, which was a major breach of etiquette, previously done also by Swāmi Bon.

Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar, by such an egregious display of interference and bad advice—which continued into the Eighties and was the basis of the first splinter group, Neo-Mutt—provided fertile, deviant soil in which the personally ambitious “zonal ācāryas” grew spectacularly. To say that he had a profound negative impact on Prabhupāda’s line is an understatement! It set the stage for all kinds of deviations, and, if you walk back the cat on many or most of those, they trace back to the Navadvīpa mahant.

As such, we are fully justified to discard the etiquette, because the man and his advice must be exposed for just what it was and what it accomplished. Without such rejection, you cannot put the pieces of the puzzle together, and your so-called understanding of the history of the movement, post-Prabhupāda, will always be inaccurate.

Now, as far as the śikṣā-guru allegation is concerned, it was employed by Prabhupāda in order to get his first disciple, Acyutānanda, away from Swāmi Bon in Vṛndāvan. Bon had already allured one of Prabhupāda’s initiates away and had re-initiated that poor fellow. By over-glorifying Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar in a letter to Acyutānanda, the effect was to get Acyutānanda to leave Uttara Pradesh and go live in Navadvīpa at a place where Swāmi Bon could no longer influence him.

At that time, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar was somewhat favorable to Prabhupāda, and the ploy worked. Swāmi Bon was thwarted, but, as far as Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar being Prabhupāda’s śikṣā-guru is concerned, does any rational devotee think that such a relationship was possible? Prabhupāda inferior to the Navadvīpa mahant? It is a preposterous claim by the fanatics of Neo-Mutt who may still believe it—or, at least, claim that they believe it.

Let us now segue to the eighth major event and deviation, the one that, more than any of the others, converted and degraded Prabhupāda’s Hare Kṛṣṇa movement into the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. Of course, we are referring to the imposition of the zonal ācārya concoction. In this chronological presentation of the Chief Events Conducive to the Formation and Growth of “ISKCON,” this one was, without doubt, the worst of the bunch.

For a number of reasons, there is no need to go granular in explaining it. First of all, most of you already know quite a bit about it, with many of you having experienced all the hell that it produced for about eight years. Secondly, this event alone could merit a multi-part series of analysis on its own. Perhaps your host speaker will decide to do that in the future, but not at this time.

To summarize, the eleven--appointed only as rittviks in July, 1977--declared themselves to be completely pure devotees, to be mahābhāgavats, to be uttama-adhikārīs on the highest level of realization and power in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. All eleven of these deceptive and dastardly fellows were governing body commissioners. That fact certainly facilitated them in pushing through the imposition and receiving the imprimatur from the governing body.

As such, since they already controlled zones allotted to them by the G.B.C., they carved out guru zones for themselves quite easily. As “zonal ācāryas,” the guru zones either matched, or were very similar to, their G.B.C. zones, although there were notable exceptions to this. After all, Swāmi B. R. Śrīdhar had advised “ācāryas of the zone,” so that concoction from the Navadvīpa mahant fit right into the method that the eleven great pretenders implemented in their scam.

And oh, what an overbearing, nasty scam it was! There was no discussion to be had about it, or, as one of the great pretenders said (when the eleven got together in India to discuss how to present this new arrangement to the devotees in the West): “Don’t explain anything to them. TELL THEM!” And that’s how it went down.

Everyone was told that Prabhupāda had appointed these eleven men as dīkṣā-gurus. False. Everyone was told that they were to be worshiped as good as God, with so-called Vyāsāsanas installed in every temple for that purpose. False and fraudulent. Every pūjarī was told that he or she had to worship, as part of the ritual, a picture of the zonal ācārya on the altar at any given temple. Another fraud.

Most of them concocted “pāda” names for themselves, in clear imitation of Prabhupāda. A former Andy Warhol buddy called himself Viṣṇupāda. Outrageous. Another guy took the title Bhaktipāda. One of the heterosexuals was called Gurupāda, who later would admit to a sexual affair with his female secretary. In point of fact, most of these eleven men had sexual liaisons with their disciples and/or godsisters during the course of their pretense.

One was called Ācāryadeva. This was The Scholar, who rationalized the so-called śāstric basis which facilitated their imitation of Prabhupāda. This whole thing went down during the infamous late March meeting of 1978 in Māyāpur, where the plot was hatched and instituted by G.B.C. edict. All eleven of these deviants were so absorbed in self-apotheosis that they COMPLETELY FORGOT THEIR LIMITATIONS, which would begin playing out—individually and then collectively—in a short time.

They over-lorded and enjoyed all the amenities and manpower that Prabhupāda’s movement had accrued over eleven years of his potent preaching, organizational skills, and personal example. He had told them all, at Kṛṣṇa-Balarām less than a year previously, “Regular guru, that’s all.” But they chose to forget that limitation.

Of course, even if they had decided not to imitate uttama-adhikārī, none of those eleven men were anywhere near the platform of regular guru. None of them were madhyams, and, once they foisted the pretender mahābhāgavat scam on the ISKCON movement—converting it into an apa-sampradāya in the process—they all became full-blown sahajiyās of the very worst variety in the history of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. Please note, however, that some of them already were sahajiyās previous to the implementation of the zonal ācārya concoction.

Gokulānanda has a question.

Gokulānanda.

“Since the zonal ācāryas hijacked both the G.B.C. and the movement in March of 1978—and they were the real beneficiaries of what was then imposed--shouldn’t this major deviation be pinned solely on the eleven pretender mahābhāgavats and their false claim that Prabhupāda appointed them dīkṣā-gurus?”

Actually, the tail of the donkey should be pinned right where it belongs, namely, on the vitiated G.B.C. The G.B.C. could have, and should have, stopped this deviation. It should have stopped Kīrtanānanda no later than January of 1978. It should have confronted him at that time and set the tone for the Annual Spring Meeting. Either all, or almost all, of the governing body commissioners were present at Kṛṣṇa-Balarām in late May when Prabhupāda clearly said, “Regular guru, that’s all.” And they all should have known that he only appointed rittviks and never officially appointed anyone as dīkṣā-guru. The whole debacle is on the G.B.C.

Let us now consider the ninth major deviation, although it is not recognized as being a major event--at least, not by most devotees. First, a little background: Once the zonal ācārya scheme was put into place, you had to go along to get along in the “ISKCON” movement. By the mid-summer of 1978, almost every devotee who did not accept it was no longer serving in any of those temples, having been either directly driven out, or indirectly, by utter revulsion to what was going down.
Those eleven men had their loyalists, henchmen, sycophants, and, of course, their own (so-called) initiated disciples by that time. It was then their movement, but it is a mistake to think that there was a lot of disillusionment about the new system wafting about anywhere and everywhere. On the contrary, those many bamboozled by the program where enamored and exhilarated by the “new gurus” and the new liberal (read, permissive) atmosphere that had been let loose, most notably in America.

This was especially evident among the gold-plated grifters. The current Hinduization and its accompanying revenue was nowhere to be seen at that time; all the centers still relied upon the pick in order to please their “new guru” and carry on temple functions. Los Angeles was the nerve center of the pick, and two prominent female devotees, Jādurāṇī and Mūla-prakṛti, were the best of the best, as far as collection and book distribution were concerned. As such, they were very important, if not essential, to that scene. They led the female collectors, who always topped the charts on the “Sankirtan Newsletter.”

The Achilles heel of the eleven “new gurus” proved to be their inability to all get along with each other, despite having separate—and usually very extensive—playgrounds as fiefdoms for their autocratic shenanigans and showmanship. Some did actually get along and, even more than that, deeply respected their fellow masters, but such was not the case in KALI-fornia.

There, the zonal ācāryas of Northern California and Southern California despised each other, with great prejudice. One had Jewish genetics, the other German. That exacerbated their mutual contempt. In the late Seventies, the two afore-mentioned female collectors were true believers. They bought into the propaganda that all the eleven were pure devotees, and they worshiped them as such.

They were also up close and personal with Rāmeśvara, the zonal ācārya for Southern California. He had always been heavy into collection by hook or by crook, and these two young women were what made the female collection go. In due course, they overheard him calling the Northern California zonal a schmuck (amongst other vulgarities), and this befuddled them. It was a major contradiction, since, in their minds, all the eleven were pure devotees. How could one call another one a schmuck? They rationalized that it had to be some kind of līlā.

That līlā rationalization didn’t hold water for long. Finally, Jādurāṇī requested—or, perhaps, she demanded--to listen to the so-called “appointment tape.” This was the illusory name of the recording of the May 28th room conversation with the G.B.C. at Kṛṣṇa-Balarām. She expected it to verify that Prabhupāda had appointed all of the eleven gurus, as that was the propaganda. This tape had been kept strictly confidential at Los Angeles, and this was the first time that Rāmeśvara released it to anyone.

Bad play, Leo.

When she listened to it, she discovered, to her shock and revulsion, that THERE WAS NO APPOINTMENT OF ANYONE TO ANYTHING ON IT! The rittviks had not been appointed on it, and, along with Mūla, she would learn that the rittviks’ appointment did not go down until the second week of July, 1977. Jādurāṇī was flabbergasted, embarrassed, and forced to realize that she had been duped by Rāmeśvara—and, by extension, the other ten also. She was determined to do something about it.

As word got around in 1980 and position papers were distributed (a long story), the whole “ISKCON” movement, as far as that zonal paradigm was concerned, was in danger of cratering. It eventually became common knowledge that Prabhupāda did not appoint anyone as dīkṣā-guru, what to speak of as meriting uttama worship, what to speak of as his successor. If there had been the INTERNET at that time, the “ISKCON” authority structure would have collapsed, but, back in those days, it took a lot of time to get the word out.

Many of the leaders of “ISKCON” went into the psychic equivalent of DEPCON FIVE! If the BIG LIE was exposed, the attrition rate would skyrocket, and all hell could, and probably would, break loose in their cult. Somebody had to come up with a solution to this problem, which would metastasize if it was not nipped in the bud. Most ironically, that somebody turned out to be Kīrtanānanda Swāmi.

Although three syllogisms—all of which are flawed at either the major premise or the minor premise--are required in order to complete the bad logic, the solution was not presented like that. Basically, what he presented was as follows: Prabhupāda did not appoint the gurus, but he did appoint the G.B.C., and, since the G.B.C. appointed the dīkṣā-gurus, that is just as good.
For the many brainwashed of “ISKCON,” this rationalization sufficed. Even if there was deception—or what “ISKCON” leaders would claim to be an innocent, mistaken conception in falsely claiming that the appointment of eleven dīkṣā-gurus was Prabhupāda’s--that was now, apparently, overcome. The zonal ācārya system of uttama-adhikārī worship was still bona fide, because the G.B.C. approved it, and Prabhupāda empowered the G.B.C. as the final authority.

Thus, this early Eighties fallback rationale checked the developing situation and its momentum toward probable collapse. Kīrtanānanda’s genius in devising this rationalization would come back to bite him, big-time, in less than five years, but he was the man of the hour when his [if A=B & B=C, then A=C] misapplied logic (formulated with subtle, embedded misconceptions) when it came to the rescue.

It should be now recognized for just what it was, namely, a major deviation and a major event, because it delayed the final paroxysms of the zonal ācārya imposition by at least seven years. The whole thing might otherwise have been brought down much earlier, and possibly even with genuine reform. The so-called center held in the early Eighties . . . for awhile.

In the latter half of the Eighties, due to an irreconcilably divided board of directors, your host speaker was forced to place the Mount Kailāsa property in Lake County, California up for sale. This was practically the only thing that the four devotees on the board could agree upon, so a local Ukiah realtor was given the exclusive.

Previous to this, we had won a contested and colorful lawsuit—which cost us $13,000.00 in attorney and legal fees—against the former master and commander of this mountain hideaway. It had been the crown jewel of his zone in the early Eighties, and it was where he made his chief domicile then. He still wanted something from us, and my second in command--formerly, his right young disciple--wanted something from him. As such, a meeting was arranged at Mount Kailāsa to settle some preliminaries and arrange logistics for a bigger exchange. The former Kṛṣṇa-kīrtan Ṭhākur dropped by one sunny afternoon for a visit back to his old stomping grounds.

He and I sat comfortably on the front deck of the main building, and our discussion was civil and even a bit friendly. Soon enough, the topic of the zonal ācārya era came up, which, by that time, had already crashed and burned. For him, it had ended much earlier, in 1983, when he was de facto excommunicated by his loving godbrothers on the G.B.C.. At any rate, he made it clear that he regretted what the eleven had done, and summed up the whole debacle by saying:

“We went way too far, and we couldn’t pull it off.”

Could not have put it better myself.

SAD EVA SAUMYA


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