Saturday, August 20, 2011

Radhanatha self promotion by Rocana dasa (good analysis here) ISKCON

ROCANA: So it's very easy for ISKCON leaders like Anuttama das to present Radhanath Swami as 'just one of us' -- but he's not one of us. He's not just an ordinary Yid from South Chicago. In fact, he's trying his level best to climb the highest pedestal he can possibly find. He's promoting himself in a shameless way, and pushing his disciples and followers to promote him on the Internet like a media product. The books that he's printing and distributing (instead of Srila Prabhupada's) are simply an attempt to enhance his own image and popularity.

So you can't on one hand say, let's worship Radhanath and follow him in the position of the great spiritual authority he wants to be seen as, which is Guru, Sannyasi, GBC and ISKCON leader, while at the same time saying we have to think of him as 'just a regular guy' who's trying his best. You can't have it both ways. Radhanath has decided, more than anyone I know in ISKCON today, to pursue notoriety as a great spiritual leader. Therefore, he can never let his guard down. He will always be under great scrutiny, and the object of critical appraisal. With the help of cheerleaders like Anuttama giving everyone a justification to 'just tolerate and let's see where it goes', Radhanath may hope the pressure will ease up, but it won't.

Of course, Anuttama das is saying all this because as a member of the GBC and the Minister of Communications, he's responsible for keeping the image of ISKCON as clean as possible. He knows he can't do a thing about Radhanath, and he knows there is a steady stream of complaint about him. If Anuttama said anything other than these platitudes, he might be put on the spot to actually take some action. But he doesn't want to take action. He's living a comfortable life, and it's too difficult a task to challenge a person like Radhanath.

In the past, the GBC didn't want to challenge Kirtanananda, until it was absolutely too late and the damage was done. They didn't want to challenge Bhakti Tirtha, or Tamal Krishna, and today they don't want to challenge Hridayananda, or Indradyumna, or even Satsvarupa. So because they don't want to do anything about so many deplorable situations with the swamis and gurus, they instead try to find excuses. They invent reasons why it's OK to do these things, and suggest that we should all be sentimental, or we should be really tolerant, trying to make out that Srila Prabhupada was so tolerant.

Ultimately, it all comes down to this principle: do the Swamis and leaders in ISKCON really understand Srila Prabhupada's exalted position? Do they have any idea that following in the footsteps of the previous Acaryas is not simply a platitude? It's not something that has no definition to it -- it's a philosophical position, and it means what it says. It's not that you just sort of parrot the basic truths found in our philosophy, and call that 'following in the footsteps'. There is a strictness, a mood, standards and principles that we don't see most leaders in ISKCON adopting and promoting.

There are principles set down in sastra and there are principles set down by the previous Sampradaya Acaryas, and somehow or other, it appears that our ISKCON leaders have just abandoned them, or stretched them so far to the extreme that the principles are almost unrecognizable. We're supposed to assume, and many foolish followers do assume, that what these persons are doing is authorized -- bona fide and approved by the previous Acaryas, and strictly inline with sastra. Therefore they do it, too -- they follow their leaders, taking the same wrong path. And as they get further down the line, it becomes more and more deviated. As time goes on, what are we going to find? In a hundred years, how many crazy sects and weird situations will have emerged? They'll be just like all the sahajiya societies that Srila Bhaktivinoda and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta had to struggle with, and we're still struggling with today. Even within our movement, there are definitely crazy sahajiya sects. Yet none of these leaders want to address it, even though this is why Srila Prabhupada set-up the GBC. He empowered the leaders to make sure the devotees are strictly following, and to inspire them to follow by setting a good example of strict following themselves. But today, they can't even see that their close associates are not following, let alone put themselves back on the high road.

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