Totalitarianism & Vedic Totalism:
by Kailäsa Candra däsa
Part Two of a Four-Part Series
“Recently, we have started this movement in America, making New York as our center, with a view that we shall be able to attract the attention of the United Nations for spreading this important movement throughout the whole world for actual benefit of the human race.”
"I have great hope for Krishna consciousness in America, more than any other place, and there is no question of repression provided we go on sincerely.”
“Your can see people got kicked out of ISKCON for different positions. ISKCON takes very strong stands. It is quite typical of religious institutions that are always trying to identify themselves correctly, to define their positions, and they do so by saying who's wrong, and the people who are wrong are demonized and driven out or burned at the stake.”
America was integral to Çréla Prabhupäda's early mission. He initiated his movement in New York City for a reason, and freedom of expression and religion, woven into the very fabric of the United States, was certainly part of that. A liberal republican democracy with a federal constitution is not conducive—at least, not in the short-term--to totalitarianism. Prabhupäda despised Communist totalitarianism, but he actually liked America:
“Your country is very much liked by me, and I am sure that, if your country takes this Krishna consciousness movement, then nobody will be able to vanquish America at any time. With this aim in view, try to convert your great country to become Krishna conscious. There is a good chance for it, so, if you try, you can do it. That is my opinion. I like America very much. So many good boys have come to me from America. Unless your country is good, how could good boys and girls come?”
Çréla Prabhupäda was pleased with the American style of work, but only when it was dovetailed to Kåñëa consciousness under his direction. He was, in a way not entirely comprehensible to any conditioned soul, competing with his godbrothers, and he wanted to defeat them. He did defeat them, as all of them combined hardly achieved anything comparable to what he accomplished in terms of spreading Lord Caitanya's movement. Much of that was contingent upon the results-oriented actions of his American disciples, and thus he called himself the Guru of the Americans.
What is now taking place in the name of his movement is a major discredit to him, specifically the deviations of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. That apa-sampradäya's unauthorized activities have dishonored him, and his envious godbrothers (one in particular) were implicated in formulating those deviations in the late Seventies, just after Prabhupäda departed physical manifestation. Americans under Prabhupäda's direct tutelage produced many good and transcendental results; after he departed, not so much.
The Hindu Hodge-Podge
“This philosophical hodge-podge exists under the name of the Hindu religion, but the Kåñëa consciousness movement does not approve of it. Indeed, we strongly condemn it. Such worship of demigods and so-called incarnations of God should never be confused with the pure Kåñëa consciousness movement.”
“Other than the bona fide Vaiñëava functions, we cannot divert our devotees' attention to such participation in so-called religious functions. This has spoiled the Hindu religion into a hodge-podge pseudo religion.”
“To seek new blood in its own death, to renew the cycle through the mirror of crisis, negativity, and anti-power: This is the only solution-alibi of every power, of every institution attempting to break the vicious circle of its irresponsibility and of its fundamental non-existence, of its already seen and of its already dead.”
Those who beat the inter-faith drum in “ISKCON,” along with other peace-mongers, gaze toward Hinduism in order to promulgate tolerance and love, as it supposedly represents that. Concerning world peace, there are any number of illusions centered around this OM SHALOM shtick. The first illusion is that “ISKCON” is using Hinduism and not vice-versa. That will be so, ultimately, in the worse case scenario, but it is not currently the case. Quite the contrary, Hindoos are now using “ISKCON” far more than they are being used by it. The second illusion is that Hinduism can be dovetailed to the ultimate objective of pure Kåñëa consciousness; this is not so, because its pulse is opposed to theism.
Hinduism is a third-order simulacrum of hard-core Çaìkära Mäyäväda; it is heno-theistic in a way that completely opposes Vedänta, just as Mäyäväda—although it has its own scholarly commentary on Vedänta—is opposed to what was revealed to us by Çréla Vyäsadeva in the nyäya-prasthäna. An explanation of the ontology and epistemology of vivarta-väda, or even of its down-line Hindu lateral octave, will not be explicated here.
Suffice it to say that the Hindoo is not a Vaiñëava. If there are some Vaiñëavas who associate with Hindu relatives or are in a similar situation, that is an exception to the rule and is not being at all criticized here. However, that is not the essence of current revenue dependency upon the Hindu community at this time, particularly at “ISKCON” mega-centers with their huge monthly expenditures ever-pending.
You may think that the relatively recent merger of “ISKCON” and Hinduism has no relation to any kind of ultimate totalitarian scenario, but you would be wrong in adopting that mentality. In order to get your mind straight, Hinduism and its relationship to what superficially appears to be Prabhupäda's movement will be further discussed in this section. How this merger could play out in the long run will also be explained.
“The Vedic system of human life is divided into eight departmental activities, and that is going on under the name of Hinduism. It is now broken and degraded and so many things have happened.”
“Yes, actually this Hindu religion is a dead religion. . . This Hindu religion has no philosophy, therefore it has died, because, in this age, people have become very much hardened by material living, and they are not much interested in sentimental religions like Hinduism. Sentiments are temporary, and they always dry up.”
“ISKCON” has compromised with Hinduism. While it was still Prabhupäda's movement—while it was still ISKCON and had not yet been converted and degraded into “ISKCON”--Hindu families only irregularly visited the temples, usually during the Sunday feasts. They simply dropped their legal tender Lincolns or Hamiltons into the Däna Box, and that was that. They exerted no influence. If they were life members, then some meaningless concessions may have been made for them occasionally, but that did not at all affect the momentum of the Hare Kåñëa movement whatsoever—at that time.
Indeed, your author spent years back in the day at the Chicago-land temple, both in northern Chicago and then in Evanston, its adjacent suburb. There was a very substantial Hindu community in that huge metropolitan area, but hardly any of them visited the later, opulent Evanston center, even once it was firmly established and beautiful Rädhä-Kåñëa Deities were installed. During those formative years, only one former Hindu was an active and daily member of the temple, and he was initiated by His Divine Grace a few months before your author. He has since become an “ISKCON” leader in India.
Actually, “ISKCON” and Western Hinduism—or even Hinduism in general—have quite a bit in common. Both are descending octaves and down-line simulacra of and from something more powerful, and both are prone to utilizing relativism at the drop of a hat. Neither of them has any problem with Western secularism, as they both exploit it. Working in tandem, both can eventually establish a new form of totalitarianism, although that is far away. The pulse and inclination for it is present at this time, however.
By making compromises with wealthy Hindus, “ISKCON” has accelerated its own broken and degraded status. This unhealthy connection was forged as the Third Transformation. After the Second Transformation in the mid-Eighties lost its luster and was unable to replicate the revenue-collection fanaticism integral to the First Transformation, the era of the zonal Äcäryas, it was time for a change. That change only appeared to add new life to the movement, but it became even more dried up in due course.
Immediately after Prabhupäda departed, “ISKCON” attracted its own kind of people, many of whom then became converted, via the “ISKCON” béja, into false personalities, experts at ripping off the public through deceptive collection techniques. Many such newcomers went all in, becoming gold-plated grifters. That training was still going strong throughout the First Transformation, but the collegiate atmosphere introduced during the Second Transformation took the fantasy out of it. Fewer people were willing to undergo the intrinsic hardship of the pick, because the pedestals to be stood upon afterward (as renowned collectors) were no longer as high nor as valued as they were during the First Transformation.
The subsequent loss of revenue became alarming over time, but the Hindoo was there to fill the void--as long as its needs and desires were met. Like attracts like. Hindus wanted something that “ISKCON” could give them, and “ISKCON” wanted what the Western devotees of Hinduism were willing to contribute. It is a misconception to think that “ISKCON” is converting any of them into Vaiñëavas, because sahajiyas do not convert anyone into God-conscious devotees at any time.
Thus, we have all of these post-modern Eastern trappings: Paid Hindoo weddings in “ISKCON” temples, Festivals of India, and dance troupes offering pseudo-inspiration that pales in comparison to everything else available in the entertainment field. It goes on because it must. Things have degraded to such an extent that temples engage in “car püja” for the benefit of their sponsors. How can an intelligent man or woman accept any of this?
“Regarding the Hindu centers in the foreign countries, none of them are bona fide. There is a similar hodge-podge center in London. Actually, Hindus and non-Hindus, everyone is at the present moment out of touch of the real science of spiritual knowledge. Everyone is going under some religious badge only, so it is very difficult to deal with them unless they are very much serious to understand the science of God.”
Now, the argument may be made that Hinduism is not conducive to any devolution in human society that will culminate in totalitarianism. There is some evidence to this contention, of course. First of all, Western Hindus are very well behaved, both socially and politically. There are no Hindu gangs in the West. Your author has never heard of any Hindu immigrant--or any of his grandparents, siblings, or children-- ever going on welfare, either.
They know the rules in the West (in America, in particular), and they obey them. Only once has your author read about any of them being convicted of a crime. They are law-abiding, they work hard to achieve their goals (an American ethic), they dominate the small and mid-size motel business (which they run well), they are often vegetarian, and they also become experts in their chosen lines, particularly in engineering and medical fields. They are often brought here by multi-national companies on special visas to engage in complex work, particularly in the IT field, because they have a fine-tuned proclivity for it.
It is the opinion of your author that Hindus in America are the very best of any and all foreign races that immigrate here, and, specifically at motels, your author has been the recipient of some rare hospitality in the late Eighties. We are not grinding any ax against these people, but we are pointing out factors connected to a minority of them who are, for all practical purposes, financially propping up “ISKCON,” and, as a result, have contributed to a radical transformation and a descending octave.
That transformation is but another fix-it-as-you-go cheating arrangement, and it has sectarianism underpinning it, viz., a covert form of sectarian mentality. It is a cheating religion. Some variety of this kind of thing will have to underpin a totalitarian system when it attempts world dominance in the future. Godless systems of totalitarianism replace the Lord with their own covert (and barely acknowledged) version of the sacred. It takes insight in order to perceive this, but it does not take much.
The subjects demand ultimate legitimacy. The people who willingly succumb to future shock will do so because they believe that the system crushing them is divine. That will include some version of warped divinity being represented in it by totalitarian leaders, even though they themselves are invariably hard-core atheists. Since Hinduism is rooted in Çaìkära Mäyäväda—a heavy-duty, ultra-oppressive system conducive to its own version of authoritarianism--the totalitarian kernel is present in it. It is also atheistic. Certainly, that modality is present within the power node of “ISKCON,” the vitiated G.B.C.
In due course, utilizing the inter-faith movement as its pivot, “ISKCON” will probably attempt to dovetail Hindu numbers in order to offer its version of a pax-Vedicana world government. We can nip that now, however, by exposing it. Hinduism superficially may appear to be individual-oriented, but ultimately it is not. Most immigrant Hindus are highly clannish and are generally kept in line by group prejudices within their own communities, and most of them also have a proclivity for organized institutions.
That mentality fits right into the “ISKCON” wheelhouse. If conditions prove conducive, these two religions could forge an alliance—but it would have to be under the “ISKCON” banner. It could then reach a stage where their numbers and influence gain international recognition from the powers that be. At that time, Western secular government—a new world order requiring a more comprehensive religion to underpin it—could become keenly interested in using and imposing the brand of religion that “ISKCON” has to offer. The secularists would require it in order to help them overcome a major international crisis, mayhem which will almost certainly ensue when nationalistic paradigms finally implode.
Afterward, the hard-hearted secularists would eventually be elbowed out of power (through subversive and insidious political maneuvering) by the even more hardened and dedicated ecclesiastics they foolishly empowered as their advisers. In this projected scenario, that would be the quasi-brähminicals of “ISKCON,” who would then impose pseudo-Vedic religion on the Western world, a stifling techno-theocracy in which Hinduism would no longer be necessary and would thus be jettisoned (or violently sacrificed).
Promulgation of the Absolute Truth by dedicated theistic totalists—who, by definition, abhor totalitarianism—can and will prevent any of this from fructifying. Checking it starts with seeing just where “ISKCON” is at in its current relation with Hinduism, both in the West as well as in India. That liaison may now seem meaningless and innocuous, but, because we cannot allow ourselves to be deceived by any false reality of the moment, we must dig deeper into it. If you have assimilated what you have read here, you have just done so.
Concerning Secular Power
“Modern secular students of religion, especially those of a reductionist temperament, seek often to divest such spiritual experiences of their unique metaphysical properties, attributing them to quantifiable psychological (or other) causes. Some even view them as pathological. . . we will need to suspend our limiting ethnocentric and ideological prejudices and attempt to understand these apparent mysteries with an open and inquisitive mind.”
“As a matter of fact, the so-called intelligent persons of the modern age have taken the shelter of secularism on the strength of past unfortunate religious feuds. This is another type of nonsense.”
“The strong do what they will.
The execrable entanglement of ecclesiastic law with the secular in the mundane world should never have any influence whatsoever on the Kåñëa consciousness movement. A genuine devotional movement, recognizing Vedic law, is always based upon Vaiñëava procedures, rules, and regulations; that basis must be in combination with the orders of the spiritual master, the Äcärya. It must remain centered in this way at all times.
Western civilization was dominated by ecclesiastical law throughout the degraded and anarchical period after the fall of Rome up until near the end of the Twelfth Century. At that time, the Crusades suffered a severe setback in battle with the forces of Saladin, casting doubt upon the purity and infallibility of papal law and a subsequent failure of faith throughout Western Europe. Secular power then began its ascendancy.
From the standpoint of any human lifespan, that descending octave began a long time ago. From the standpoint of time immemorial, however, it is extremely recent. A Kåñëa movement only remains an äçrama when it is free from any influence upon it from secular law. When the secular camel's nose gets under the tent, however, and secular law (or worse, its perversion) is allowed to influence, directly or indirectly, a religious movement, the Kåñëa movement will become contaminated. Western ecclesiastics have been compromised by secular mentality to such an extent now that this Webster's dictionary should shock us:
secular n. 1: a secular ecclesiastic (as a parish priest).
There should be no such relationship in any way like this, but there has been just such an intersection for a significant length of time; as such, it has now even been defined by Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary in this way. Secular law is supposed to function as a government of laws and not men—at least, that's the slogan and the ideal. Sometimes it does, thankfully. However, it all too often does not operate at all like that, i.e., it functions in just the opposite way. When that aspect of secularism reflects itself into a Kåñëa movement, its leaders can whimsically decide, at any time, whether or not to follow or to reject Vaiñëava laws or the guru's orders—or even their own ecclesiastical dogma (which they previously concocted and imposed). We have some prime examples of it, especially in the form of not following the orders of the Äcärya, particularly after he departed physical manifestation.
Secularism is marked by an indifference to ecclesiastic law; a secular society acts by rejecting the laws of God and the laws of his representatives on earth. Indeed, in many cases, Western secularism also rejects the laws of nature, as is the case with legalized euthanasia, animal slaughter, meat-eating, and abortion. All of these engagements are sub-human and utterly abominable, but they are made legal by secular arrangement.
Western secularism defies the laws of nature when it legalizes the abominable. It defies the Supreme when it legalizes that which is exclusive to all genuine religious considerations, particularly when it legislates against all Vedic and Vaiñëava strictures and all generic rules and regulations for progressive human life. This rare opportunity of the human form must be guided by guru, sädhu, and çästra, but secularism often interferes with even basic human rights of saintly persons, such as government-forced vasectomies of sädhus.
However, it is now incumbent upon us to focus on how the mis-leaders of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, insidiously and somewhat indirectly, applied (and continue to apply) a secular mentality in their defiance of devotional orders—the prime example being their deviation in carrying out initiations after Prabhupäda's departure. He said, “When I order,” but he never did formally give that order to anyone, i.e., no one was officially recognized dékñä-guru; it is doubtful that he so ordered anyone privately, either.
Nevertheless, the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats conflated their appointment as rittviks to include an ex post facto appointment as initiating gurus after Prabhupäda's disappearance. They did so, because they were confident that virtually everyone would buy it--and they could thus pull it off. It was a flagrant example of converting Prabhupäda's movement into a society of men and not laws, disregarding the spiritual law embedded automatically in his order--particularly that one. It demonstrated a covert secular mentality in the guise of ecclesiastic dictate from the supposedly authorized governing body.
Divine sanction must always be there in every act; that is an essential principle intrinsic to the Absolute Truth, to real totalism. Although mundane power at every level, even in deviation, can exert its influence by divine sanction only, a government can only be considered the Absolute's emissary on earth if it is directly under divine guidance. When that is the case, those brähmins guiding it control secular power as well--at least, to some extent.
Secular rulers are not subservient to any ecclesiastical organization today, but, during Medieval times, ecclesiastics were able to excommunicate the secular ruler and dethrone him via Papal interdiction. That particular deep state no longer exists, obviously. That those times were lost was felt to be a disaster by the devoted back then, who were forced to question the source of real power: Did it come from the sword or from the Cross?
Your author does not lament this transition to secularism from a flawed and oppressive theocracy nor does he advocate any kind of return to the compromised and corrupt monarchy of those dark days. The ascendancy of secular power in the West has thrown mankind on its own in the world, with God on no one’s side. God is not dead, but humanity at large has become dead to God. The transition to secularism entails that liberation must now be sought for, and achieved by, individuals rather than through the medium of organized religion. As such, it is imperative that a seriously inclined transcendentalist must accept a guru in terms of sacred Vedic and Vaiñëava scripture. Giving up the association of pseudo-spiritual leaders seeped in covert secular mentality (or, more specifically, in ecclesiastic power which has a secular mindset pervading it) is just as essential.
At this time, there is no question of an ecclesiastical state, and, unless a genuine devotional occultist is educated in brähminical qualities, there cannot be any peace in the world at large. Western civilization is in the throes of its own secular experiment at this time and a thorough rejuvenation is required, but the priests and brähmins from today's ecclesiastical order are also polluted, and they are sanctioning so much nonsense. The secular state and its ecclesiastical orders are supposed to provide services for the welfare of everyone, but both of them are vitiated now, and the people suffer in all respects as a result.
There can be no sympathy for such so-called sädhus nor for stereotyped ecclesiastics nor for politicians who capture political power via votes. Neither does your author favor a particular community, caste, or religion--especially those creeds wherein ecclesiastical bureaucrats, engaged chiefly in feather-bedding their own nests, have become degraded via the institutional routinization of quasi-brähminical charisma. No secular state should be guided by them or by their governing bodies, because any such arrangement will eventually lead to a totalitarianism in which devotees are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and executed.
Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust