The New Meaning of Founder-Äcärya:
An “ISKCON” Dogma of Mass Liberation

Last of a Four-Part Series

A Critical Review of SPFAI

By Kailäsa Candra däsa

“Çré Jéva Gosvämé advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social and ecclesiastical conventions. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.”
-Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi, 1.35, purport

“One central challenge is to integrate the guru-disciple relationship . . .within a larger society that demands, in a certain sense, a higher, all-encompassing, loyalty. . . a loyalty proven in practice by our cooperation with each other, within the structures he bequeathed us . . .an intense common loyalty to ISKCON and the GBC . . .”
-SPFAI, “Challenge”

“Contradiction means imperfect knowledge.”
Dialectical Spiritualism
, Critique of Kant

Part Four represents the final installment of our continuing review of a recent G.B.C.-sanctioned book compiled by one of its prominent members. The title of this treatise is Çréla Prabhupäda Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON (hereinafter, SPFAI). As the saying goes, you can’t always judge a book by its cover–-or, for that matter, by the title on that cover. The gist of this work is that the honorific “Founder-Äcärya” (in general) and the phrase “Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON” (in particular) connotes something far more extensive than the self-evident meaning of that phrase, viz., that Çréla Prabhupäda was a Founder-Äcärya of a spiritual organization (branch of the sampradäya) often known by its acronym, ISKCON.

The author of SPFAI is Ravéndra Svarüpa däsa, hereinafter referred to as RSA. In order to assimilate the message of Part Four (which you are now reading), general knowledge of the first three parts of this series is preferable. We are now analyzing the final two parts of the second half of the book, TEXT WITH COMMENTARY. This second half contains four sections, as per those presented in the first part (called TEXT).

Of the four sections (in TEXT WITH COMMENTARY), inexplicably, no commentary is made to the last one, entitled OUTCOMES. What needed to have been analyzed from sections one and two (of COMMENTARY) has, for the most part, already been presented. That leaves the third and fourth parts of COMMENTARY. Most of the quotations (here in this last part of our series) will be from the third part of SPFAI, entitled: “OUR CENTRAL CHALLENGE.” We shall simply refer to it as “Challenge.”

All Emphases Added for your Edification and Realization

The formation of the latest and greatest deviation by the vitiated G.B.C., accomplished by putting its imprimatur (“A G.B.C. Foundational Document”) on SPFAI, bodes ill for the future of not only the handful of remaining devotees (the ones who have remained true to Çréla Prabhupäda), but for the world. SPFAI represents potent philosophy, and its ideas augur major consequences down the road.

Its concepts are rather obtuse, and sometimes even contradictory, in their current form, but they will become generalized as they slowly percolate to the mass of humanity. The basic contradictions in SPFAI will then become unrecognizable, as the dull-witted adopt its basic premise. Now, in the beginning, this percolation will take place in the minds of those interested in Eastern thought. History has proven time and again that contradictory concepts first become vulgarized and then accepted.

SPFAI may not acquire great influence in our lifetime (hopefully, it will not), but eventually it could become woven into the social fabric of a pseudo-spiritual, extended society. From that position of influence, it could reach critical mass and thus become the base of a social reality permeating a new—even international—culture.

All epochs are actuated by various combinations of ideas, yet the most potent ones enter their host cultures insidiously, particularly if they do so in disguised forms. SPFAI has been created for that purpose, and our series should have made that fact clear by now. In other words, if and/or when the mistaken knowledge promulgated by SPFAI reaches the stage where it is wrongly considered to be integral to the tradition of the guru-paramparä (the Madhva-Gauòéya Vaiñëava sampradäya), those people living at that time will be cooked.

People in general will then inculcate the ideas of SPFAI as mottos (or cliches or shibboleths) by which to live their lives. Such malefic, institutional, metaphysical (not devotional) concepts will be mistakenly considered as essential to a progressive human life, and, at that point, the ideas will no longer be hidden, having attained maximum force.

All the rascaldom (and accompanying atrocities) of organized religion and its related, theological super-structures will quickly be built up and spread; the horrific influence of SPFAI will then widen its circle of influence at an astounding rate. Science will become influenced by these institutional concoctions, and everyday life will kowtow to them, as well. In this way, the world will be shaped for the worse—as in, the much worse. The deep-rooted flaws in the initial edition of SPFAI will be forgotten by that time, in no small part due to censorship by omission (practiced quite ruthlessly even today by each and every deviant group purporting to represent Çréla Prabhupäda). “Devotional life” will become altered to such an extent that it will be almost beyond conception.

Such an emergence of a world-wide state of so-called Kåñëa consciousness would hammer down on anything which smacks of buddhi-yoga and rational thought, replacing sattvic mentality with the dogma of SPFAI, which itself will have been changed by that time. Subterranean forces have already, from its very first edition, been powerfully implanted into the subtext of SPFAI, and, for the common devotee, these influences are quite difficult to recognize. However, if we allow them to metastasize, people who cling to Kåñëa consciousness as it is—and as it was and is supposed to be—will have indubitable and direct experience of just how wrong the whole institutional paradigm must have originally been. [1]

If and/or when the unauthorized but clever ideas of SPFAI reach the stage where the intellectual class is able to seduce the warrior class into accepting its institution, know for sure and certain that a neo-Gothic epoch--with a ruling class possessing a vastly expanded range of powers, especially technological power—will have emerged. The malcontents will then be considered, once again, to be heretics, and they will, once again, be persecuted. Philosophy's power to produce just such changes has been proven throughout not only the recorded history of the West, but throughout all human history. The character of such an ultra-oppressive neo-Gothic super-state will have ultimately been shaped by the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation through the agency of its power node, the vitiated G.B.C.

Thus far, this perverted G.B.C. has been relegated and restricted in its influence. To a significant degree, this has been due to its misuse of only procedural propaganda, along with a self-serving interpretation of its own recent history. With the introduction of SPFAI into the “ISKCON” apa-sampradäya, an apa-siddhänta is now part of the formula. We must, at this time, investigate just what this book actually says and, even more so, what it represents now and for the future. In doing so, we must not neglect what it is incubating. It is during its philosophical stage of incubation that its influence can be destroyed.

Institutional Hermeneutic Dogma

“. . . the realized soul . . . is transcendental, because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship. For him, mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones.”
-Bhagavad-gétä, 6.8, purport

“The Ravenshaw Professor of History provides . . . (t)he chronological order of the Acharyas of the Iron Age is (1) Sree Vishnuswami, (2) Sree Nimbaditya, (3) Sree Ramanuja, and (4) Sree Madhva . . . This is the term usually employed by Çréla Prabhupäda. In the Gauòéya Maöha the term Founder-Äcärya was similarly reserved to denote this group.”
-SPFAI, “The Position of Çréla Prabhupäda”

“Today it can be confirmed that that doctrine which shall have sufficiently explained the past in its totality will inexorably obtain, in consequence of this proof alone, intellectual leadership over the future.”
-Auguste Comte, A General View of Positivism

SPFAI is a metaphysical work, but it is in its own categorical subdivision. In order to understand the substance of SPFAI for what it actually is, we must not allow ourselves to get lost in the blizzard of its meticulous details, academic acrobatics, and avante-garde formats. Although RSA cites seven Gauòéya scriptures in a limited number of places, the only Upaniñad briefly referenced is Bhagavad-gétä. Such sporadic scriptural citations make it seem as if SPFAI is emphasizing çästra—and the book's layout, as mentioned in Part One, is designed so that it can be turned into what could wrongly be considered new çästra—yet, in point of fact, SPFAI is little more than a subjective (and peculiar) interpretation within the context of a limited Gauòéya history.

Metaphysics is but one of six divisions of philosophy, and not all philosophies are metaphysical. Some philosophies consider metaphysics to be impossible. Metaphysics entails research into the fundamental nature of essential reality. Subdivisions of this category are ontology, cosmology, and hermeneutics. SPFAI is espousing a hermeneutic (and teleological) essence of things, all centered around its author's subjective interpretation on what is Gauòéya Vaiñëavism after Çréla Prabhupäda. That RSA engages in speculative hermeneutics is not readily recognizable, but, when it comes right down to it, all of his “realizations” are presented as the study of methodological principles of metaphysical interpretation, which is the very definition of hermeneutics.

Çréla Prabhupäda is the Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON, which is a branch of the sampradäya—not a sampradäya in and of itself. We all knew the phrase to mean this while he was with us, but RSA now informs us that we have all been wrong, that the phrase entails much more than its self-evident meaning. What he is claiming is that Çréla Prabhupäda is non-different from the original Founder-Äcäryas of the sampradäyas, and RSA attempts to substantiate this claim via his version of institutional hermeneutics--although, of course, he does not call it that.

To understand the mysteries of human existence, universal reality, and transcendence means to realize the nature of the illusion, relative truth, and Absolute Truth. Such a process requires knowledge. Such knowledge, combined with devotion, constitutes the essence of real philosophy, which, to the degree it is actuated, augments the value of this rare opportunity of human life. There is, however, such a thing as mistaken knowledge, and SPFAI is loaded with it. In order to realize this, the veils covering RSA's book must be removed. One of these is the illusion that SPFAI is a çästric commentary, when it is nothing more than speculative hermeneutics of the very worst sort.

Hermeneutics is the science of metaphysical interpretation. In Western philosophy, on a limited and somewhat obscure basis, it was originally applied by--and only recognized as legitimate in--Medieval Scholasticism. For a long time, it remained the monopoly of Church theologians and was cent-per-cent Biblical. It was then actuated in the field of occultism in the form of interpretive research into alchemy, astrology, palmistry, numerology, etc. That was mostly during the middle and later Gothic Era, particularly during the Sixteenth Century, and the pursuits of those occultists were persecuted by the Church. However, modern or present-day hermeneutics is mostly applied to history.

That field of Western speculation initially opened in Italy in the early Eighteenth Century, when a lesser-known philosopher named Giambattista Vico presented forms and suppositions that did not correspond to the Enlightenment Era of his particular intellectual circle. He established a series of axioms that centered around a cyclical theory of humanity, one constituted of ever-revolving corsos.

In Germany, at about the same time, Georg W. F. Hegel was gaining prominence by postulating a hermeneutic philosophy which centered upon his discovery of the dialectic and (what he considered to be) its relationship to nation-states, culture, and world history. The dialectic was a process of change brought about by an apparently never-ending synthesis of continuous conflict by opposing cultures.

In the Nineteenth Century, Karl Marx turned Hegel's theory on its head via dialectical materialism, a philosophy stressing the ultimate importance of economics, a philosophy he considered free from metaphysics. In this connection, two other Western philosophers of note were also active in the Nineteenth Century: Emmanuel Swedenborg and Auguste Comte, the latter being devastatingly influential even now. Swedenborg's philosophy was benign and gravitated toward Biblical interpretation in combination with the occult natural; he is mostly associated with the hermeneutic theory of correspondences. Comte's philosophy is known as Positivism, and it is socio-historical.

In Tattva-viveka, Çréla Bhaktivinode Öhäkur Prabhupäda particularly criticizes this man, condemning him with more words than he used against any other Western philosopher, although admitting that he (Comte) was shrewd. Just like Marx (who borrowed from him), Comte did not recognize metaphysics as a bona fide branch of philosophy. These two men also shared an arrogant belief that their philosophical presentation was nothing less than the discovery of what would ultimately be the final stage of human evolution: Comte as per the Positivist stage, and Marx as per atheistic Communism.

Which brings us back to the great historical researcher and writer RSA and what has been produced by him (at the Governing Body's behest), the SPFAI , an “authorized,” foundational document of ISKCON (so-called). The theory at the core of this book is based on a highly speculative, institutional-cum-historical approach. Virtually everything he presents is through the prism of his interpretation of events and writings in Gauòéya history—much of it somewhat new information (and certainly all of it newly interpreted). The book is obviously historical in nature, but that history is now being interpreted through the prism of a concocted teleology (Stargate “ISKCON”) that is not only provocative, but profoundly questionable as to its metaphysical validity.

He is saying that “higher loyalty” to the institution (and the controlling node of that institution) is the only bona fide path of devotion that can guarantee deliverance. His theory is connected to a new interpretation of the bhakti line allegedly established by a fifth müla äcärya (although this Äcärya, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda, never claimed that he was any such thing). SPFAI is hermeneutics, nothing more/nothing less. It is a new branch of hermeneutics, because now the institution determines historical truth as per the teleological postulate put forth in the book, viz., automatic deliverance (vimukti) to the spiritual world through the worm hole of the corporation's Vedic planetarium (world axis) in West Bengal.

This is the current “ISKCON” dogma. SPFAI begins with an ignorant mental speculation, and then continues to build upon it. See the book for what it is and recognize the metaphysics being used. Hermeneutics in and of itself can either be true or false, depending upon how it is applied. Metaphysical speculation can also be either true or false, although devotees mostly accept the superior path for attaining knowledge, both phenomenal and noumenal.

SPFAI takes us into the realm of mistaken interpretation, and there is no spiritual or devotional benefit to be had in such an exposition of faulty metaphysics. Neither the book nor the Commission authorizing it deserves intellectual leadership in the future, and the dogmatic “proofs” put forth in SPFAI are all full of wrongly applied evidence and fatal flaws.

Haven't We Seen All This Before?
(The Patented Cavalier Attitude of “ISKCON”)

“ . . . transcendental writing does not depend on material education. It depends on the spiritual realization.”
-Platform Lecture, 3-31-76 in Våndävan

“ . . . the initial “zonal-äcärya” system created geographical zones that were individually more unified than ISKCON as a whole. The integrity of ISKCON thus came into jeopardy. That system has been abolished.”
-SPFAI , “Challenge”

“Dig a little Dan about an hour ago;
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow.”
The Doors, “L.A. Woman”

Almost all readers of SPFAI would not think that the book has any connection to the Rittvik heresy, which it only mentions once. However, they would be wrong, because—in a very subtle irony--SPFAI is, as per its attitude, related to Rittvik (just as Rittvik was a direct attitudinal offspring of “ISKCON”). Only by considering the forest are we able to glimpse this. The attitude underlying the “ISKCON” apa-sampradäya has been the modus operandi of two other groups (and now, this book) since the late Seventies, despite the fact that Rittvik did not manifest until the late Eighties (although it was percolating before that).

What was “ISKCON” of the late Seventies? In a word, it was a concoction, based on scanty and misused evidence that fell far short of proof of the legitimacy of its new dispensation. What was Rittvik of the late Eighties and the whole of the Nineties? It was also a concoction, based on scanty and misused evidence that fell far short of proof. Interestingly enough, both of these deviant cults (of course, Rittvik contains many of them, virtually all of which are at each others' throats) misinterpret Çréla Prabhupäda's written Will, misusing it as a major part of their claim to ultimate legitimacy. This subject has been covered in other articles on our websites, which can be consulted to advantage.

Now, what is SPFAI? It is also a concoction. Its evidence is not based on the Will, but, instead, is based upon an intricate combination of sources, most of them pseudo-çästric (such as “Lélämåta,” Servant of the Servant, ad nauseum). SPFAI follows in the footsteps of Rittvik in one very important—and what should now be obvious—way, viz., it puts together past pieces of the puzzle wrongly in order to come up with a major, all-encompassing, spanking new theory. The theory is an “understanding” of just who Prabhupäda allegedly was—and just what his institution now must be understood to be—and to always have been.

That theory centers around the idea of system. In another way of saying the same thing, SPFAI claims, directly in its Foreword, that the phrase “Çréla Prabhupäda Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON” is a system! No one realized this before, in no small part, because it is not in the category of a realization; it is in the category of a concoction!

What kind of concoction? Just like Rittvik, it is a concoction that requires all its adherents to basically throw out everything that has been previously understood and practiced in Gauòéya Vaiñëavism. In the process, they must discard all the Vedic and Vaiñëava traditions of yoga practice for the attainment of ultimate liberation—in the case of SPFAI, to throw them all out in favor of a new system of mass liberation, a term Prabhupäda never used. The G.B.C. has given this idea its brazen endorsement.

The initial “ISKCON” concoction of the late Seventies laid eleven sahajiyäs on us, along with their eleven zones, all such men allegedly appointed by Çréla Prabhupäda to be worshiped as uttama-adhikärés (although they did not deserve that whatsoever). Prabhupäda never indicated that he wanted any such system imposed nor was he molding his movement to manifest in any such manner. Yet “ISKCON” claimed, through spurious evidence, that he did, and, in effect, brought into existential form an entirely new tradition, one that turned out to be a dumpster fire.

Rittvik did the same thing. It claimed that Prabhupäda actually wanted a post-samädhi rittvik system of institutional initiation in which he remained the initiating spiritual master for all newcomers, despite his having departed manifest existence. Based on spurious evidence—and, like “ISKCON,” centering its chief evidence on a couple of misinterpreted words or phrases from the Will—Rittvik, in effect, brought into existential form an entirely new dispensation.

Both of these “traditions” were and are anti-Vedic and anti-Vaiñëava. Both are still operative, because some of the “ISKCON” gurus (in good standing with the governing body) still receive uttama-adhikäré worship, despite the injunction of the mid-Eighties allegedly abolishing it.

Now, an entirely new understanding of Prabhupäda's movement is once again being foisted on us through the agency of SPFAI, although Prabhupäda never indicated that he wanted to be seen as the fifth müla-äcärya of a new Vaiñëava line nor did he ever indicate he was molding his movement in that way. Nor did he say that the phrase “Çréla Prabhupäda Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON” was a system of mass liberation! Nor did he claim that an institution and its power node are at the center of all efforts to serve and please him.

Nevertheless, “ISKCON” is now claiming, through spurious evidence promulgated in SPFAI, that he did want all of that, and, in effect, the institutional delusion has brought into existence what could become an entirely new—and completely bogus--tradition. It is just another massive upheaval, like the one of the late Seventies (the First Transformation), and just like the continuing upheaval of the early Nineties (Rittvik).

Here's what RSA, in his book, has to say about Rittvik:
“ . . . the 'ritvik' position wishes to do away with actual gurus in favor of GBC institutional authority, while the followers of one prominentsannyāsī or another wish to eliminate an actual GBC and rely on the charismatic, autocratic single ācārya.”
-SPFAI, “Challenge”

He is presenting but another false dichotomy, another illegitimate either/or. This one does not represent the Rittvik movements that are extant at this time. Instead, it harkens back to a version of Rittvik that existed for a very short duration in the late Eighties and early Nineties. Today's rittviks do not at all favor G.B.C. institutional authority, although one or two of their groups have made fledgling (and unsuccessful) attempts to establish their own governing bodies. In other words, this cavalier dismissal of Rittvik by RSA is part and parcel of the patented arrogance projected by virtually all of the “ISKCON” leaders.

We have, from SPFAI, reproduced the most egregious example of this attitude (at the top of this section, the second quote posted). There he simply, in one or two sentences, dismisses all the immeasurable hell that went on for a decade by claiming, with only partial accuracy, that the zonal äcärya system has been abolished by today’s vitiated G.B.C. (2014). In terms of the zonal äcärya assertion, the dismissal has validity, but it does not completely have that status in terms of “ISKCON” institutional gurus being worshiped as mahäbhägavats by their disciples, which was the hallmark of the zonal äcärya era.

Haven't we seen all of this before? In 1978, didn't the vitiated G.B.C. force all of Prabhupäda's disciples to accept its massive new definition and formulation of what it wanted to impose? Didn't the Rittvik movement do the same thing? With all these new “realizations” being lumped on us by SPFAI, aren't we, once again, being subjected to the same treatment? Isn't it time to wake up? If you cannot see that SPFAI is, in essence, a paradigm of the same matrix (though different in a number of details) as Rittvik, then three strikes and you're out!

In “ISKCON,” its vested interests always put their fingers to the wind in order to figure out which way it is blowing. RSA did his homework, got his individual and committee backing, and strutted his stuff in the form of SPFAI, which he considers to be—wrongly or rightly—his institutional rite. He is riding a strong tail wind to advantage, and all of his comrades want to be on the side that's winning.

“Cooperation” Within a Pseudo-Spiritual Board of Regents
(The Culture of Collegial Compromise)

“The test of our actual dedication and sincerity to serve the spiritual master will be in this mutual cooperative spirit to push on this movement and not make factions and deviate.”
-Letter to Babhru, 12-9-73

“ . . . the normative guru-disciple relationship would be perpetuated within the unified institution under the direction of the G.B.C. In such an organization, many gurus would be able to act with concerted force,operating together with other leaders and managers in collegial accord.
-SPFAI, “Challenge”

“The problem with the scientific power you've used is it didn't require any discipline to attain it. . . You didn't earn the knowledge yourselves, so you don't take the responsibility for it.“
-Malcolm, Jurassic Park

At this time in Kali-yuga, institutionalists are almost invariably corporatists, and the leading men of “ISKCON” are no exception to this rule. Corporations are notorious for drawing and re-drawing ever-shifting lines of principles and ethics in the sand in order to profitably manage their conglomerates. Many governments are run in the same way, as we all know very well. There is no particular section of liberal democracy more representative of this mentality than academia, and RSA is a dyed-in-the-wool product of that environment.

The vitiated G.B.C. of today is a changed entity from what it was back in the era of the pretender mahäbhägavats; no one disputes that. At the same time, it needs to also be acknowledged, even more importantly, that today's vitiated G.B.C. is a changed entity from what Çréla Prabhupäda envisioned for his Society's governing body in 1970. The mutual cooperative spirit he wanted had and has nothing to do with a corporatist mentality nor the modus operandi of any university's Board of Regents.

However, once deviation entered into the movement in a very big way—and especially since the G.B.C. was fully implicated in that deviation—the social spirit was dumbed down. It thus became encapsuled into a buzz word: “cooperation.” That word also had its fundamental meaning changed in the process, because, mostly due to the upper echelon of “ISKCON” hierarchy, cooperation came to mean think, speak, and act exactly as the G.B.C. wants you to think, speak, and act.

The saner section readily realize that a faction was created in late March of 1978, one that had been brewing for a number of years before it blossomed in its full glory. That initial faction was, of course, the emergence of the zonal äcäryas. They were able to flourish because the G.B.C. approved the arrangement, i.e., the Commission was fully implicated in the scheme. The colossal zonal hoax was proof positive that the leading men of “ISKCON” (who, to this day, still consider themselves as having been Prabhupäda's “best men”) failed the test of our guru mahäräj, i.e., they did not possess actual dedication and sincerity to serve the spiritual master. Their cooperation at that time was nothing more than a kind of loose conspiracy, and that same principle is operative now.

Let us not forget that Çréla Prabhupäda gave them their powers and appointments, more or less rather easily. They did not have to create an international movement, because his purity is what actually formed it. They could not have imposed any kind of governing body over his temple presidents without his express approval. He created the G.B.C. charter, which required a vote of rotating commissioners every three years, and he never wanted his governing body incorporated.

However, they exploited the scientific powers and facilities he laid out for them, they thought that they were the doers, they completely ignored the voting requirements in the governing body's charter, and, in the mid-Nineties, they incorporated their G.B.C. in West Bengal. If these are not the actions of a faction, then what are? Since they did not really merit or earn their perquisites, they took no responsibility in the matter of regulating their governing body—regulating it according to the orders and desires of the Founder, that is.

RSA can harp on “cooperation” all he wants and push collegial accord as the perfect modus operandi for his version of social cooperation. Nevertheless, the fact remains that his vitiated governing body is a faction. As such, that deviation has spawned other splinter groups that now oppose it. These big leaders of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation had the red carpet rolled out for them by His Divine Grace in virtually every facet of their (apparent) achievement, but that benediction is hardly acknowledged by them.

It was neither their tapasya nor their discipline which put them into positions of power; it was mostly a gift to each of them from Çréla Prabhupäda, trusting that they would not misuse it. Has what these corporatists done with their so-called cooperative culture amounted to anything more than betrayal? Prabhupäda said, “Regular guru, that's all.” Is that what they gave us with the eleven pompous sahajiyäs in 1978? Yet RSA states, in his book, that a higher loyalty is now required:

“One central challenge is to integrate the guru-disciple relationship . . .within a larger society thatdemands, in a certain sense, a higher, all-encompassing, loyalty. . . aloyalty proven in practice by our cooperation with each other,within the structures he bequeathed us . . .an intense common loyalty to ISKCON and the GBC . . .”
-SPFAI, “Challenge”

A higher loyalty within the structures: That is nothing more than code for complete surrender to the power node of “ISKCON,” the vitiated G.B.C. He wants to temper the profiles of the wild-card gurus, who have become too powerful and, as a result, can more or less ignore whatever the G.B.C. passes off as official “ISKCON” law. Still, that is not the only motive. He wants all the members of his cult to accept a new definition of all-encompassing loyalty, one that does not concentrate itself on the orders of the spiritual master. Instead, the mentality being pushed in his book is one of institutional loyalty, which suits the corporatists, such as RSA and his close buddy who wrote the Foreword, just fine. All the so-called focus on Çréla Prabhupäda in SPFAI amounts to little more than word jugglery and lip service. The normative of today's “ISKCON” movement is anything but the normative of authorized Vedic and Vaiñëava processes, such as buddhi-yoga or bhakti-yoga.

If you scrutinize all the changes that have been made in the last forty years, you will find that they are all based upon compromise. Compromise with the most powerful men on the Commission. Compromise with the Mutt. Compromise with the Hindoo revenue source. Compromise with the powerful pundits who are making massive changes to the books. And, last but not least, compromise with the advocates of institutionalism via collegial accord. If we listed the specifics of each and every one of these compromises, the size of our article would more than double.

The vitiated G.B.C. now operates in a similar way to any Board of Regents directing decisions on university campuses across America. The SPFAI version of what to do is not indicative of actual dedication and sincerity to serve the spiritual master nor does it represent the manifestation of a mutual cooperative spirit meant to push on the Hare Kåñëa movement of Kåñëa consciousness. Instead, it represents a factional mentality that meshes quite effectively with the spirit of the “ISKCON” deviation, an attitude that permeates the unauthorized and illogical suppositions contained throughout SPFAI.

Endless Simmer

“I foresee evil outcomes opposite our expectations, O Keçava”
Bhagavad-gétä , 1.30

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality.” -Dante

“In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct and our critical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” -Edward Bernays[2]

There are Outcomes projected by RSA in his book; indeed, they are listed in the fourth section of both TEXT and COMMENTARY. However, as aforementioned, there is no actual commentary provided in relation to these listed Outcomes. Why? In all likelihood, it's because no “ISKCON” leader ever wants to be held accountable for making a wrong prediction, as the method of choice has always been, and will continue to be, fix-it-as-you-go--despite the much ballyhooed “Strategic Planning Commission” allegedly at the forefront of the institution nowadays.

We shall not analyze all of the Outcomes, but it behooves us to mention that there may also be unintended consequences produced, in due course, by the publication and distribution of SPFAI. These are consequences that may transpire in two areas, only one of which is long-term. The other unintended consequences could produce intermediate-term negative impacts to the very cohesion of RSA’s great organization, i.e., “ISKCON” itself could take a hit. It will be considered subsequently.

Indeed, how could there not be hidden dangers connected to SPFAI? What is the motive behind its creation? The motive is the same one connected to the principle underlying all that has gone down in the perverted reflection of Prabhupäda's movement since the late-Seventies, viz., overlording the devotees by a privileged faction that ruthlessly exploits power and position always to its own benefit.

The alternating hot and cold wars in and around “ISKCON” have never completely abated nor can they nor should they. The whole goal of the pretender mahäbhägavat era (The First Transformation) was to overlord all the other members of the Society on the illegitimate grounds that Prabhupäda wanted their magisterial arrangement, which the G.B.C. rubber-stamped. The zonal äcärya era pushed to the forefront many rotten shibboleths in combination with outright deceptions, and the scheme was built on a faulty foundation.

These malefic principles were not completely overcome by the Second Transformation, in which, for all practical purposes, RSA became the (covert?) hierophant of the movement. The Second Transformation came into being as a result of a continuous string of strife generated as a result of criminal activities, legal scandals, embarrassing sexual peccadilloes (by “new gurus” along with other leaders), and all kinds of flotsam in the aftermath of the schism with the Gauòéya Mutt (1982). The premeditated assassination of a malcontent by henchmen working for two zonals (who wanted him liquidated) was the proverbial straw.

By 1987, the “ISKCON” movement was actually in danger of cratering, as it neared the brink of a confidence precipice. This was an unintended consequence and hidden danger of the 1978 deviation by the G.B.C. (on behalf of its most powerful members), and it had not been foreseen. The position paper authorized to explain the so-called legitimacy of the pretender mahäbhägavats, written by a “lily white” member of that group of “new gurus” in 1978, gave no hint about, nor was it able to foresee, what their scheme would, in less than a decade, bring down upon both them and the movement that they had outrageously hijacked.

The endless simmer of hot and cold wars surrounding “ISKCON” will always pose a threat to its unity and integrity. The Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead, His Lordship Siva, along with his divine consort, will always be working to break up its unauthorized, institutional imposition. It is an institution that does not deserve to experience either unity or integrity, and these unrelenting conflicts ensure that real peace in the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation can never transpire.

An Apa-siddhänta for an Apa-sampradäya

“When a person procrastinates and does not take advantage of what has been made readily available to him, the demigods become enraged and put many obstacles in his way.”
-Païca Tantra, “The Separation of Friends”

“I sat down and, in two or three hours, typed a short statement—no more than three pages—that seemed to come almost of its own accord. It was based on little or no research . . . simply my own intuitions and 'realizations.'”
-SPFAI , Preface (quotation marks around “realizations” not added)

Freddie: You know, you should wake up, Val. Your father's speaking. You might learn something.
He's making all this up as he goes along. Don't you see that? I can sleep and wake up and not miss one thing.
-The Master

Words sometimes have great power. When they are arranged to create a convoluted apa-siddhänta advocating new ideas and fostering new hopes, more often than not there is a backlash embedded in them. This will certainly be the case once the favorable bounce accorded to SPFAI runs its course. No one—or, almost no one—criticized or tried to get in the way of the pretender mahäbhägavats in their initial years of power, pomp, and glory. However, by the early Eighties, a growing (eventual majority) of devotees had turned against the scam. SPFAI will be completely beyond criticism for awhile, but a sub-faction within the cult will come to realize that the book's message works against their interests.

Over and above this inevitable development, devotees outside the walls of “ISKCON” are going to be pointing out--and, hopefully writing about--the flaws, deviations, false hopes, and basic apa-siddhänta that SPFAI embodies and represents. The fanatics within “ISKCON”--the vast majority of whom will wholeheartedly adopt the spirit of SPFAI--should be unaffected. We cannot be at all disheartened by this. However, there are still a significant number of bhaktas who can be helped in and around “ISKCON,” and they are going to begin to doubt the legitimacy of SPFAI. As word spreads, some cognitive dissonance is going to set in—not for everyone, of course, but for a growing number. This is what happened in the wake of the above-mentioned position paper of 1978, which its author defended later that year, after Pradyumna prabhu challenged what it had legitimized and began speaking out against it.

There are seven Outcomes in his book, but, before RSA lists them, he writes: “There will be many consequences when Çréla Prabhupäda's position . . . is realized.” Was this a Freudian slip? One of the Outcomes (Number Three) reads: “Çréla Prabhupäda's active presence will secure the unity and integrity of ISKCON.” By falsely projecting upon Prabhupäda a pseudo-glory that he did not possess, does not possess, and which indirectly dishonors him, His Divine Grace has little or no active presence in RSA's movement. He remains a deity form of a spiritual master sitting on an opulent seat, a figurehead, just what he had been relegated to in the final years of his manifest presence.

He is not a fifth mula-äcärya, and he is not glorified by being called the fifth mula-äcärya. His movement was not a new sampradäya; it is or was a branch of an already existing sampradäya. The Founder-Äcäryas of the four sampradäyas are different from the Founder-Äcärya of a branch. Prabhupäda was never God, he is not God, he never wanted to be worshiped as God[3], and he is dishonored when called God. Similarly, this applies to his now being erroneously “honored”—according to the “realization” RSA promulgates in his book—as the next mula-äcärya of a new line coming from the Supreme Lord.

That “ISKCON” itself is a new thing, no question. It is a concocted disciplic succession, an apa-sampradäya. There have been many of them in the past, but “ISKCON” trumps all of those in a number of categories. His Divine Grace was never meant to be an active presence to secure unity and integrity for or within any apa-sampradäya.

Another of the Outcomes listed at the end of SPFAI reads as follows: “His (Prabhupäda's) books will remain central to us.” Is that so? It would be more accurate to have re-worded this sentence (or Outcome) to read: “The changed versions of his books will remain central to our scheme.”

The BBT(I) is a concocted corporation, and many of the changes its pundits have made in Prabhupäda's books are not corrections. Instead, many of them actually change his message. So, RSA once again gives lip service to a weak, institutional shibboleth. The fact remains, however, that he and his governing body approved all the changes that the BBT(I) has made to the translations and purports of His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda, to the literary works that are meant to become the spiritual law books of mankind for thousands of years.

Also, let us not forget that Prabhupäda's books are not even listed amongst the five institutional pillars (culminating in Stargate “ISKCON”) which are supposed to be the main foundations of Lord Caitanya's movement--according to SPFAI, of course. When Prabhupada’s books are not even recognized as a pillar, how can the sixth Outcome manifest?

There are many dangers embedded in SPFAI. Human life necessitates that all men and women live within the historical boundaries of their particular era. They are heavily influenced by it, especially in terms of their conceptions, yet most of them do not recognize this. SPFAI will affect the here and now, but it is actually designed to have its heaviest influence in the future. The mode of planetary culture that RSA is trying to create will be mostly felt—unless we act now—in the historical consciousness formed in the future. RSA's intellectual and doctrinal nuances are that potent, and he is attempting to create a legacy for himself within his apa-sampradäya. We cannot allow him to succeed.

His so-called discovery is mired in mental speculation and institutional grandeur. The reality of the moment in this particular limited period in time is not conducive to allow the dangers dormant in SPFAI to manifest, but this moment of temporality will pass. What supersedes it should be our main concern, because that era will be ripe for a Pandora's Box of dangers (embedded within SPFAI) to fully emerge.

The devotional attitude that Çréla Prabhupäda bestowed upon us should be our life and soul. SPFAI kills that spirit, as does the vitiated G.B.C., which has stamped its imprimatur on the book. The storehouse of errors contained in SPFAI—most of them, admittedly, shrewd by design—will have their intended consequences in due course, i.e., they will manifest mostly after we have all departed the passing scene, but it is incumbent upon us to now recognize this.

There is such a thing as taking action too late. In American football, when the coaches analyze a last-second defeat, one where the victorious team punched the ball in from the one-yard line, they don't target any defensive lapse that may have occurred on that touchdown play. When a team moves deep into its opponent's territory, that offense will generally score. The coaches instead analyze the lapses that allowed the opponent to get it down there in the first place.

Similarly, the time has come, in the here and now, to recognize the urgency of exposing and checking the maleficence of SPFAI. This article has touched upon some salient points related to it. However, if we hesitate to act upon our right convictions relative to this absurd book, we are culpable for lapses in judgment and action. SPFAI is in the incubation stage. It can be stopped in its tracks at this time.

Cognitive dissonance can be injected into “ISKCON,” and word does spread fast in that organization. Once the wild-card gurus recognize the potential backlash that SPFAI will likely bring them, and once the powers-that-be see how the unauthorized conclusions of the book (apa-siddhäntas) threaten their cohesion, there is going to be some who will have the courage to speak out against the book.

Are the leaders of “ISKCON” actually conscious of what they, by backing SPFAI, are doing? It is not our business to concern ourselves with whether or not evil is conscious. Instead, it is our duty to expose SPFAI. If we hesitate, the demigods will not help us. We should not settle for neutrality, because SPFAI, by exploiting apathy and moral decadence, has ratcheted up the influence of their institutional delusion. SPFAI will, at a bare minimum, create a crisis for the future generation, unless we act now.



[1] We are referring here, of course, to the pretender mahäbhägavat coup of 1978 and not to the introduction of genuine Kåñëa Consciousness into America in the mid-Sixties by His Divine Grace.

[2] As the nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays was trained by his uncle in the ultimate goals of the “science” of psycho-analysis.

[3] That His Divine Grace did not want to be worshiped as God must be understood in the context that he did not want to be considered completely non-different from God in all respects and thus worshiped under that misconception. He was worshiped like God, because he carried the pure message of the Supreme Lord. The context of this clause, as per its inclusion in the overall sentence structure—and what the sentence conveys—should not be misinterpreted. Prabhupada was worshiped like God, and, if the clause “as God” is considered in that light, then that, which is bona fide, is an entirely different context than what is being communicated and transmitted in this sentence.

Return to Part One
Return to Part Two
Return to Part Three

Tell a Friend

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