WHAT IS CONTEMPORARY ISKCON in the year 2020 and beyond?

J’ ACCUSE.

FACT.

We know that ISKCON is short for or the acronym for INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS.

 

The INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY for KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS was founded and incorporated in New York, USA in the year 1966, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the most knowledgeable, educated and wise exponent of Krishna consciousness for a very long time in the past, as well as into the future. In real terms, a divinely empowered individual. When suggested at the time why not make it “The International Society for God Consciousness” with His usual focused resolve He declined firmly. It shall rightly be called “The International Society for KRISHNA Consciousness” and not otherwise.

 

When Srila Prabhupäda began the Society (in New York City, in 1966), He put into writing the purposes (Charter) He wanted it to achieve. They are as follows:

1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in Bhagavad-gitä and Srimad-Bhägavatam.

3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu.

5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.

7. With a view toward achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, books, and other writings.

 

QUESTIONS:

Has contemporary ISKCON become a closed, carefully monitored and information filtered club of self-interested individuals, instead of an open society of Krishna conscious individuals, as Srila Prabhupada intended it to be?

Has contemporary ISKCON become a closed and carefully monitored and information filtered club of self-interested individuals instead of the House in which the Whole World Can Stay (HOWWCAS maybe?), as Srila Prabhupada intended it to be? Has it perhaps become the seed of a totalitarian system?

If that were the case, then ISKCON has already set its date of caducity and demise, just like any other material organization.

Has ISKCON been highjacked by a class of unqualified usurpers, as happened with the kingdom of the Pandavas 5000 years ago? There is here “extraordinary power” (BGAII 18.78), wealth and influence at stake indeed.

 

FACT

The members of ISKCON, especially the so-called intellectual leaders of ISKCON, some of them with innumerable diplomas and accreditations from prestigious mundane education institutes from around the world, are clearly and steadily disrespectful and offensive to its own Founder-Acarya as they refuse with great determination to give proper and due respect to its Founder-Acarya. In other words, they do not fully understand the position of Srila Prabhupada and foolishly think of themselves on an equal level with Srila Prabhupada, which in the ultimate analysis is a falsehood. I am especially talking here about the fact that they refuse to capitalize words related to Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, as is the case for the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna Himself. Such modus operandi is however shastrically supported by stanza seven (7) of Gurvasataka by Visvanatha Cakravarti Takhura, who is also Acarya as confirmed in the next Srila Prabhupada quote.

säkshäd-dharitvena samasta-shästrair
uktas tathä bhävyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh shri-caranäravindam

säkshät-directly; hari-tvena-with the quality of Hari; samasta- all; shästraih-by scriptures; uktah-acknowledged; tathä-thus bhävyate-is considered; eva-also; sadbhih-by great saintly persons; kintu-however; prabhoh-to the Lord; yah-who; priyah-dear; eva-certainly; tasya-of him (the guru); vande-I offer obeisances; guroh-of my spiritual master; shri-auspicious; carana-aravindam-unto the lotus feet.

The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari [Krishna].

As far as I am concerned, the best school of life is steady and regular Prabhupada book distribution. Please attend that school, please. That will make Srila Prabhupada very, very happy. My Book Distribution Motivational Magazine (BDMM) https://krishnaculture.org/book-distribution/, available on this website, may serve as inspiration for those who lack inspiration. We have here the paradoxical, typically Kali Yuga situation, where a grihastha has to teach by example the sannyasi to go from door to door! We have also the glorious example of HH Janananda Goswami, who last year 2019 amassed a staggering 1299 book distribution points, to name only one glorious book distributor, in this case, a veteran sannyasi distributor.

 “A sannyäsi is supposed to beg from door to door. He does not beg simply because he is hungry. His real purpose is to enlighten the occupant of every house by preaching Krishna consciousness. A sannyäsi does not abandon his superior position and become a beggar just for the sake of begging. Similarly, a person in householder life may be very important, but he may also voluntarily take to the mendicant way of life. Rüpa Gosvämi and Sanätana Gosvämi were ministers, but they voluntarily accepted the mendicant’s life in order to humbly preach Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s message.” CCM 8.39 P

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And Guru and Acarya, although not God themselves, are the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead.

Srila Prabhupada Himself used to give the example of the viceroy who, even though not the king himself, still gets the same respect as the king.

“We have got in practical experience. Formerly, in British government, there was viceroy. Vice means in place of and roy means royal king. Viceroy. So this viceroy was respected as the king, as the emperor. That is the process. When he’s no longer a viceroy, then he’s not respected. But so long he is acting as viceroy… And the rule was that whatever presentation was given to the viceroy, he did not accept it personally. It was kept in the state. So these are the process. So guru, äcärya, being representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he should be worshiped. Nävamanyeta… Na martya-buddhyäsüyeta [SB 11.17.27]. Never think of envying. As soon as we become envious of the äcärya, there is fall down, immediately. Yasyäprasädän na gatih kuto ‘pi. Yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo. This is the teaching of Vishvanätha Cakravarti Thäkura. He’s also äcärya. Äcärya-paramparä.” 761005SB.Vrn

The key ideas and expressions here being “envy of the acarya” brings about a “fallen state.”

Some joke that ISKCON has become a con and a scam.

Semantically true! The acronym ISKCON does contains and terminates with the word CON.

Some will retort: “Because it is Krishna’s CON, therefore it is alright”

The problem with that proposal is that God or Krishna is never a con-person.

He may allow the most abominable things to happen, still He is not a con-man.

The judge may order a murderer to be executed.

That does not make the judge, nor the executioner murderers themselves.

The judge and the executioner act lawfully according to the legislation in vigor, the product of thoughtful legislators over a long period of time. Capital punishment is still in vigor in many states of the world.

Similarly, Sri Krishna is the supreme lawmaker and whatever He does is not only all good but absolute as well.

Another sign of misdirection and betrayal of Srila Prabhupada is the emphasis on mundane education within ISKCON.

Prabhupāda: “That is not very good intelligence. You are living, but your coat and shirt, they are dead. Similarly, your body is dead; that is a fact. It is a dead body. As soon as you, the spirit soul, go out of this body, you’re dead. So it is dead, practically. So without spiritual knowledge it is simply decorating the dead body. That’s all. The modern education is simply decoration of the dead body, that’s all. I am engineer, this dead body. I am now identifying to become engineer. But as soon as the body is finished, your engineering is finished. You get another body—it may be a dog’s body.

So this the engineering, this medical practitioner, this lawyer is simply decoration of this dead body. So what is the value of decorating a dead body? Loka-rañjanam. Aprāṇasya hi dehasya maṇḍanaṁ loka-rañjanam [Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 3.11]. That is stated in the Vedic literature. Decoration of the dead body means satisfying some admirers, that’s all. It has no value. Real knowledge is to understand what I am, why I am suffering these threefold miseries of this material world, how to get out of it, if there is any way. This is knowledge. This is actual knowledge—not to decorate the dead body. Yes?” 730817BG.Lon

Mundane education is only as useful as it can be engaged directly in Krishna’s service. The acaryas call it nescience. If it has no relationship with Krishna and His service it is simply useless and a waste of time, the only purpose of human life being to achieve genuine self-realization and to enhance one’s Krishna consciousness.

Whereas “Krishna consciousness is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” Bhagavad-gita As It Is, chapter 9, text 2.

 

“In the Vedas also it is said that a person cannot know the Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead simply by dint of mundane education or intellectual gymnastics. One can know the Supreme Truth if one has unflinching faith in the bona fide spiritual master as well as in the Lord. Such a faithful person, even though illiterate in the mundane sense, can know the Lord automatically by the mercy of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gétä also, it is said that the Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to everyone, and He keeps Himself concealed from the faithless by His yoga-mäyä potency.” SB 2.9.32

 

Iskcon is playing a cat and mouse game.

I find no one in Iskcon who is prepared to engage in a meaningful dialogue.

There is only silence.

But “Silence may appear helpful for some time, but ultimately it proves a failure.” writes Srila Prabhupada in purport to verse one of Nectar of Instruction. If we examine this statement carefully, we come to the conclusion that silence is always a failure.

What is hidden behind the Iskcon facade?

For example, the current manager / editor of Back to Godhead magazine is very careful to publish only a certain version and perspective of Krishna consciousness. And all articles have to be very polished. But where is the original Prabhupada spirit to speak the truth always? It is lost for good with this type of management! This gentleman has a systematic policy to reject each and every one of my articles. So does dandavats.com. Whence the need to have my own website. But Srila Prabhupada created the Back to Godhead magazine for all His men to publish articles in it. Again a very unacceptably narrow interpretation of things. 

And after 47 years of loyal service, when against all expectations, even my own expectations, I needed to tie the knot again with a most wonderful lady from France, my actual soul mate, I could not find a marriage celebrant in my own Krishna conscious culture, a sad state of affairs indeed.

The first Krishna conscious ISKCON celebrant I approached, a prominent Australian temple president, foolishly, insultingly and with great insistence accused my fiancee to be a criminal sporting counterfeited identity papers. It is not that I am demanding or expecting undue respect but this is, however, a serious matter, as Srila Prabhupada writes in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is 16.1-3, purport: 

Apaishunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life.” We are still waiting for a formal apology from this individual.

The second time around, I just couldn’t find anyone suitable in ISKCON.

One so-called ISKCON celebrant, just ignore me totally.  And I don’t think a non-Iskcon celebrant would ever act in such a discourteous way. Another behaved strangely. Others declined with or without giving valid reasons.

I had to accept the services of a very nice lady civil marriage celebrant. No foolish mental limitations here and I thank her very much for just minding very well her own business, as the Bhagavad -gita As It Is 3.35 recommends:

It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.” 

Far from her mind, the idea of being a marriage celebrant, doubled with a policeman, detective and document expert. 

In conclusion, this contemporary ISKCON business, disguised as a religious business, seems to be a pretty humanity-less and mercenary affair, there is no doubt about it. 

 

to be continued……

 

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