Robert Morrill (Badrinarayana das -- San Diego California).
Who are we and where are we going?"
A Fight for the Soul of ISKCON
A recent paper by H.H. Badrinarayan Swami.
This paper is not meant to bring peace. It is not intended to answer all questions and bring harmony amongst all sides. Rather, its purpose is to spark debate and to ask uncomfortable questions. It is intended to bring to the fore a discussion that has been avoided for too long. The GBC needs to discuss and answer the following questions:
"Is ISKCON meant to present a philosophy only or are we meant to also present an alternative way of life?"
"Is our goal to find a way to fit comfortably into the current flow of the modern world or are we meant to change the world's cultural, social, and economical structures?"
"Are we so eager to gain a seat at the table of established institutions that we are no longer willing to rock the boat or take a challenging position?"
How we answer the questions above will define whether ISKCON succeeds or fails to fulfill the vision of Srila Prabhupada and to address the crying needs of the world. This paper will make the case that if these questions are not answered, if current trends within ISKCON are not addressed, we are already on our way down the path to a slow death of assimilation and irrelevance.
[PADA: Except that ISKCON -- under the guidance of folks like Badrinarayan -- has forced people all over the planet to worship Badri's / GBC's deviant and illicit sex "acharyas." And that has created a mass exodus from ISKCON, never mind Badri's "bad boy messiahs" also generated a major criminal reputation and rotten general public and media opinion of the Krishna religion. Never mind several thousand children were alleged to have been abused or molested under the watch of Badri's program's "management."
After Badri's program crammed the worship of deviants down the throats of billions of people, now he wonders why his religion is crumbling? And Badri recently had Radhanath come to Los Angeles to give sannyasa to Amala Bhakta, just after Radhanath buried a known homosexual and child abuser in a samadhi in Vrndavana.
The homosexuals in samadhi project?
Badri's program promotes the worship of man to man sex in samadhis in the holy dhama, then they are alarmed that gay marriage is being promoted? Sulochana said that Badri's program is "a semen sucking sampradaya," and now they wonder why gay marriage is being floated in that sampradaya?
In sum, the Badri program forced ISKCON to be "assimilated" into the siddhanta of something like the sahajiyas, starting around 1978, with their idea that gurus and pure devotees are generally debauchees and in fact -- its quite common for acharyas to be debauchees, deviants, sexual predators, homosexuals, drug addicts criminals and so on and so forth. And anyone who says messiahs / acharyas are not deviants is often -- banned, beaten and sometimes assassinated by the Badri program, or sued in court.
Badri's paper is an indirect dig at Hrdayananda's "Krishna West" program, but Badri seems to forget that he himself has been perhaps among the number one promoters and cheer leaders of the jack boots process of making guys like Hrdayananda into the acharyas of ISKCON. If ISKCON is suffering from a break down -- due to maverick acharyas -- lets not forget who co-created these maverick acharyas, as people like Badri have been doing ever since 1977.
And why hasn't the Badri program stopped Hrdayananda NOW from using the name of ISKCON even today? And since Badi's other leaders like Jayadvaita say "why in the hell" are people chanting Jaya Prabhupada, why are JAS's edited books still being sold all over ISKCON? Why doesn't Badri ever fix these types of problems?]
The simple truth is that in debating and answering the questions above, we are talking about nothing less than defining the soul of ISKCON and its future. Why now?
[PADA: Why now? Because, the crap has officially hit the fan, ISKCON has been degraded, marginalized, bankrupted, run through the mill of bad publicity, and made into a ghost town etc. Even the gurukulis had to sue Badri's program for being treated horribly. And most of the original Srila Prabhupada devotees subsequently left ISKCON where they are now making all sorts of obscene and odious jokes about the state of Badri's malefic acharyas.
In short, Badri's acharyas are a laughing stock to the mass of devotees, to the mass of general public, to the media, to law enforcement, to the Gaudiya Matha, yes -- just about everyone thinks Badi's messiahs are hokey and false. If not, they are afraid of Badi's messiahs thinking them as dangerous criminals, or sexual predators, or persons who are basically demons who are gliding to hell.
Badi has spent the bulk of his life making sure that people all over the planet think Krishna's guru successors are criminals, sexual predator and rascals, so he has made the mass of people reject the religion wholesale, and he will have to answer for doing that in the higher court of the higher authorities. The higher authorities will say, "You are the guy who says Krishna's successors are debauchees, criminals, sexual predators, homosexuals, drug addicts, and so forth, well we have been awaiting you to come to our court."]
This paper was born out of the debates over female diksha gurus, women's roles in ISKCON, and "Krishna West". One may ask: "How do they connect?" Picture throwing a rock into a pond; from the point of impact concentric circles will radiate out. The largest circle, the one on the outer rim, will include all the other smaller circles. This paper's premise is that by answering the questions above, we will then have created the template, the means of measure, by which to address these other important issues.
The discussions about female diksha gurus, women's role in ISKCON, and the controversy surrounding "Krishna West" are actually not independent concerns. They all swirl around and rest upon the same debate:
"What is the vision for ISKCON as a society? What are we meant to present to the world—a philosophy only or a positive example of an alternative social model—and if the latter, then what does that model look like?
[PADA: Good, as soon as Badri said that we all have to worship his illicit sex messiahs in order to attain God, he created a false model of religion for the world to see. How many people in the world agree with Badri that in order to attain God, we need to worship Badri's illicit sex with men, women and children as our messiahs project?]
[PADA: Speaking of proxy wars the children of ISKCON, were used by the Badri program as their proxies and pawns. The children had to worship Badri's illicit sex program and they had no means of escaping since, they were children. Badri mis-used these children as his proxies in order to establish his idea that we need to worship his illicit sex messiahs. That means Badri is, at the very least, guilty of criminal corruption of the morals of children, by using them as his proxies to establish his illicit sex pooja program.]
What we have now, because we have failed to discuss the questions above, is a set of bush fires and proxy wars. For example, some devotees are motivated to push for female diksha gurus because they believe doing so will then establish the precedent that gender is not a factor in the consideration of roles in a Krishna conscious society. In other words, the effort to reach the goal does not rest entirely on the individual issue itself but also on the opportunity to accomplish a type of social engineering by the achievement of that goal. However, this underlying objective, to achieve a social engineering goal, is rarely if ever mentioned.
[PADA: Right, Badri's program social engineered that small children had to worship illicit sex as their messiahs, and the result is that Badri's program was sued for $400,000,000 for mass child abuse, and when it came to court, Badri's program pleaded "no contest" because they were guilty of orchestrating this bogus social engineered program against children, and no contest means, they were basically admitting guilt.]
Another example is the debate over whether or not ISKCON should make a public statement about homosexuality and gay marriages. One side presents that it is a clear issue, Srila Prabhupada's statements on the matter are consistent, and it is an opportunity for ISKCON to take a moral stand. Others argue that we will alienate some people, we will lose support in the academic and political world, and does ISKCON really want to court controversy? Again, the determining question is "What is our vision and what is ISKCON's goal?" Is ISKCON intended to carve out a space as a unique spiritual alternative or to instead hew to a course that wins it favor with the established powers that be?
[PADA: What amazes PADA is that many of the senior devotees, take for example Rupanuga, Balavanta, Hansadutta and similar others, did they not know from the late 1960s - early 1970s that Kirtanananda had been living in a homosexual household on Mott Street, and that he had challenged Srila Prabhupada on so many issues? Why did they apparently go along with the appointment of Kirtanananda as the messiah of ISKCON? And why didn't Rupanga help me and Sulochana, and instead, he propped up the GBC's who excommunicated us (and wanted to orchestrate killing us?) and they propped up Kirtanananda and reinstated Bhavananda as their messiah? And why has Badri's program recently buried Kirtanananda in a samadhi in Vrndavana? Badri's program thinks that persons engaged in male to male sex are in samadhi with God?]
Without answering the above questions we are groping forward in the dark with no compass or map. We are building a conflicted, ad hoc social structure and set of standards. We have no cohesive, unifying vision. The result is a patch-work social framework that at times is at war with itself. As the saying goes "A house divided against itself cannot stand".
[PADA: But you divided the house as soon as you said we have to worship your illicit sex messiahs?]
Srila Prabhupada took bold stands. Srila Prabhupada took bolds stands. While merciful and kind, he was not one to accommodate or appease. Numerous times he asked a guest or interviewer "Should I flatter you or tell you the truth?" He did not back away from a confrontation.
Srila Prabhupada told the long-haired, drug-addled, free-loving hippies to shave up and follow the four regulative principles. He told newspaper reporters in 1968 that we did not go to the moon. His tour across the USA in the summer of 1975 (declared by Time magazine—"the year of the woman") was one combative interview after another with Srila Prabhupada not backing up an inch.
[PADA: Oh great so Badri's gurus are from the long-haired, drug addled, free loving hippie stock. Why did he make these folks into his and ISKCON's messiahs knowing they are not qualified? Satsvarupa writes in his Journals that he is "the guru of pills" and yet Badri's program has his writings sold all over the planet?]
Compare Srila Prabhupada's bold and surrendered style to the following excerpts from a draft of a proposed ISKCON statement on homosexuality (the impetus for the effort being the US Supreme Court's recent approval of gay marriages). "Within different cultures, traditions and countries around the globe there are deep divides over the issues of sexuality, sexual orientation, and in recent years, same sex marriage. Within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) there are also differing opinions how to consider these topics…"
"ISKCON commits to respect and protect basic freedoms for all people regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or other designations..."
"Question: What about monogamous same sex relations?"
"Some Vaishnavas advise these relationships help calm the mind and senses and thus enhance spiritual practice; others argue it has the opposite affect…"
Given its vacillation and ambiguity, one is inclined to ask "Was this style of wording lifted out of a European Union bureaucratic policy statement?" When did ISKCON become the purveyor of such bromides? We hear the claim that by softening our edge, by charting a course more in line with the climate of the times, ISKCON will grow exponentially. For the sake of honest analysis, one is obliged to ask: "How is that working out for the Anglican Church?"
[PADA: The GBC is not ambiguous at all? They openly state that God's successors, acharyas and messiahs are often caught "engaged in illicit sex with men, women and children." That has been their publicly stated mantra and siddhanta ever since 1977. So that means, man to man sex occurs in their alleged chain of gurus from God, and that is what Badri's program has said all along. That means the Badri program is promoting the worship of man to man sex, and anyone who objects is removed -- by folks like Badri, Now Badri wonders why man to man sex is being glorified, its because he is promoting the worship of man to man sex as his messiahs.]
Instead of glowing success, they are floundering. They have split in two and in the debates over the issues of the day they are seen as irrelevant. An ISKCON similarly bleached of courage, conviction, and confidence in our tradition will not be attractive—certainly not to the young, the idealists, and those out to change the world for the better—and aren't those exactly the type of people we want and need to attract?
The picture painted by some that ISKCON has become stagnant and calcified, that it is locked into an Indian-ethnic flavor and therefore needs "a movement within the movement" to revive its preaching spirit, is both unfair and inaccurate. It ignores the many creative outreach initiatives found throughout the ISKCON world—initiatives that are not just theory but are producing tangible and encouraging results.
We have Devamrita Maharaj's "Krishna Lounge" and "modern Vedic ashram" models being duplicated around the ISKCON world with much success.
[PADA: Devamrita's people are preaching Veganism and they are saying we do not need to eat milk products. A number of his people have been paying large sums of money to attend the "Sterling" self-help program. Devamrita was also Kirtanananda's stooge for many years, and he was getting people to dress in monk robes etc. He is having success at merging ISKCON into all sorts of off shoot deviations and has been doing that for years. He has never accounted for why he supported New Vrndavana when all the deviations were going on there etc. At the same time, many devotees in Australia wonder why Devamrita has supported Prabhavishnu being an acharya, when it was known for years he was deviating. And lets not forget the Devamrita program buried Kirtanananda in a samadhi, they still glorify their man to man sex program as their messiahs?]
There is the BASE college outreach concept developed in India and that has now spread to such far-flung locations as Burma, Bangladesh, and Chicago. Gainesville, Florida has its own home-grown and very successful model. Many devotees are using the booming interest in yoga as a bridge to mantra meditation and study of the Bhagavad Gita.
The above examples are mentioned in particular because they involve adjusting the traditional ISKCON format and presentation to meet the conditioned souls in their own "comfort zones". The devotees involved in the above programs certainly understand the "bridge" concept. At the same time, they are also careful to make sure that the "bridge" flows the right way. "Bridge preaching" is intended for turning non-devotee into devotees — not for stripping away devotional practices to the point that the opposite happens -- those devotees involved wind up looking just like non-devotees.
[PADA: Preaching to devotees that they need to attend the Sterling program is a non-devotee process. The leaders simply are not doing street kirtana and college preaching like Vishnujana used to do, period.]
There are those who present that Srila Prabhupada only said these things to encourage the Indian community to help his movement. However, not a single one of the above statements was made before an Indian audience. Rather, Srila Prabhupada is on a morning walk in New York city, speaking with an American college professor, writing to Tamal Krishna Maharaja (who was stationed in the United States by this time), and speaking to the devotees from around the world gathered for the morning class at the Mayapur Gaura Purnima festival.
One advocate of cultural acclimatization (adjusting ISKCON practices so that they come to practically mirror the local customs) wrote:
"On scriptural grounds, one could question the very concept of an 'original culture', if by that we mean an original ethnicity. I see no reference to one in Shastra."
In response, we have the statements of Lord Brahma, the head of our sampradaya, found in the "Brahma Samhita". There it is clearly stated that Govinda and "the super-excellent station of Krishna, which is known as Gokula" are the apex of realization, the fullest manifestation of the Lord and His personal abode. As confirmed by Lord Brahma, the spiritual revelation of Govinda in Goloka surpasses even the Vaikuntha worlds and the unlimited forms of the Lord revealed there.
We have the statements elsewhere confirming that Krishna is full in Dwaraka, fuller in Mathura, but fullest in Vrindaban.
Thus, that there is a hierarchy of revelation, an ultimate reality, and therefore a corresponding ultimate "culture" as revealed in Goloka, is confirmed. One may then say "OK. But where are the details of that reality and culture spelled out?" We know what Krishna looks like. We know His activities and about His associates. But one could argue that more specific details are not contained in Lord Brahma's revelation.
ISKCON is at a juncture. We stand at a fork in the road. We have a choice to make—do we go down the path towards accommodation (with its hope of greater acceptance and its risk of assimilation) or do we take the path towards presenting Vedic culture as a viable and positive alternative to the current flow of the world?
[PADA: OK Badri's program is supporting a semen sucking sampradaya that buries homosexuals and sexual predators of minors in the holy dham, a process going ever since 1977, now he says we are at a cross roads because some of these same people are now promoting gay marriage? No, we were at the crossroads ALREADY in 1977 and Badri's program chose to take us on the path of worship of his semen sucking pals, and as soon as Badri finds one of his pals buries a known homosexual predator in the holy dham, he invites that person to give sannyasa ceremonies in LA.]
The world's receptivity to Krishna consciousness, certainly amongst thoughtful people, has never been better.
[PADA: No thoughtful person wants to worship illicit sex with men, women and children.]
Thoughtful people know that something has to give. The societal models of the day are simply not working. Picture for a moment, what if ISKCON was able to put into practice the social programs and preaching strategies Srila Prabhupada has given us? What if we had bountiful farm communities, filled with happy and well-balanced families? What if these farms supplied city temples and Govinda's restaurants with fresh, organic, cruelty-free products? What if we had a top-standard education system?
[PADA: That is another thing, Badri's program destroyed the farms and Varnasrama projects.]
What if we had regional traveling festivals all over the world that set up tents, interactive displays, 3D dome theaters, and presented bhajans, dramas, philosophy, and fantastic prasadam? What if we picked up where Spiritual Sky ended and developed a whole line of quality food and health products?
What if the ISKCON name became synonymous with quality, self-reliance, integrity, wisdom, happiness, and doing good for the world? Think we would still need to put on a hat, coat, and tie to get people to come in our doors? Rather, ISKCON would boom with waves of people eager to hear from us and learn about our life-style.
Sure it will take hard work and focus to reach these goals. It may well take several generations to achieve. But we will never get there if we don't try. And frankly, isn't doing so a better choice than imitating and trying to ingratiate ourselves into societies that are falling apart at the seams all around us?
So what do we do now? The GBC needs to sit together, discuss these issues, and answer these questions. "Who are we and where are we going?" Do we have an alternative social and cultural model to offer to the world? If so, what does it look like? If so, how do we start to implement it? What are the priority projects for ISKCON? What themes do we want to stress? What institutions and projects would we like to see in place in the next three years, five years, and ten years? What are our plans to reach these goals?
The GBC has established the practice of setting aside time at each GBC meeting for "special topics"—key issues that affect the entire Society. Answering these "vision" questions should be taken up by the GBC as an immediate and top priority. Conclusion -- ISKCON, as Srila Prabhupada envisioned and intended it, is the last best hope for the conditioned souls in Kali Yuga. Srila Prabhupada said "My 'disease' is that I cannot think small". He did not intend his Society for small things. Srila Prabhupada has given us the torch: he has given us the ways and means to lead the world out of darkness.
It will be a profound tragedy if, just when the world's need and receptivity are the greatest, we falter and turn from the task. Will we instead settle for lesser achievements of little long-lasting impact?
You may not agree with all of my opinions. I may not agree with all of yours. That is to be expected. But the fervent hope of this paper is that you will agree that we need to have an honest and in-depth discussion of these questions. Nothing less than the soul of ISKCON and the fate of the world are at stake.
[PADA: As long as Badri promotes his semen sucking sampradaya ISKCON will continue to wither on the vine. And the Prahlad / Dayalu Nitai / Sanat / Mukunda / HKC Jaipur folks should also jump off of this Bhakta das / Hari Sauri / Radhanath ship of fools ASAP, this ship is not going anywhere good, we can guarantee that. As someone said recently, these guys are worse than the GBC since they are helping Bhakta das promote their semen sucking sampradaya in the name of Prabhupadanugas. Anyway, this is all good, these folks are all feeling the pressure and our idea will win over time. ys pd]