Communication Breakdown BY: DHARMACANDRA DASA
Anuttama Dasa, the ISKCON Miscommunications Minister Defends Radhanath Swami
If Anuttama dasa wants to keep Radhanath Swami nicely on board, "cooperating" with ISKCON, why does he try to accomplish that by disparaging Srila Prabhupada? The offhand effrontery to the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON that is so evident in the paragraph written by Anuttama, and analyzed below, is most disturbing, particularly when one considers that this is the proclamation of the" ISKCON Communications Minister".
Anuttama's paragraph with comments in brackets interspersed and indented:
"From what I've witnessed, RNS's approach to preaching is tailored to how he perceives his audience's receptiveness to the Vaisnava message. No, it's not the blunt speech that Srila Prabhupada generally espoused, but it has a much more cautious approach."
[Here is Anuttama's premise. He draws a comparison between Srila Prabhupada and RNS. First, he starts by a direct insult to Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada "generally espoused" "blunt speech". Whereas, RNS is "more cautious".]
"Many devotees see his preaching as too timid, almost impersonal. I think that is a mistaken perception."
[This is the classic "straw man" strategy. Those ‘questionable persons' that criticize RNS are characterized as defining his preaching as "too timid, almost impersonal". While many may criticize in that way, however that is a sad inaccurate portrayal of the wide-ranging criticism of RNS's preaching. If one actually wants to accurately summarize the objection to the preaching of RNS, then one must concisely state that it bears little relationship to the potent and direct sastrically-based presentation of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinoda, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada and Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Of course ,we have seen Anuttama characterize such direct presentation as "blunt speech" and by implication not "cautious". Yet, it is this deviation from the shining example of these recent and wonderfully successful Vaisnava acaryas that is at the heart of the unease with RNS.
But that is hardly the fault here. The way Anuttama puts down Srila Prabhupada's preaching in comparison to RNS makes it clear that Anuttama has lost "awe and reverence" towards Srila Prabhupada. To characterize Srila Prabhupada's brilliant, potent and straightforward preaching as "blunt speech" is pure effrontery to Srila Prabhupada and his faithful disciples. Srila Prabhupada's particular genius was the ability to present subtle transcendental knowledge clearly and in a manner that was easy to assimilate. "Blunt" means dull, insensitive, stupid, even inappropriate. To stick such a label on the preaching of genuine maha-bhagavat uttama-adikari devotee is so crass and plainly offensive that one can only recoil in disgust. Is this the view of the ISKCON "Communications Minister"? Is this the kind of ‘disciple' we want in such a high post, propagating that our glorious Acarya was "blunt"?
Further, the implication is that RNS is "more cautious" than Srila Prabhupada. This insinuation is abhorrent. Srila Prabhupada preached to every class of person from young hippies to government ministers. Brilliantly without assistance, he was able to navigate the minefields of opposition, East and West, and quickly establish Krsna-consciousness against opposition from caste Hindus, fanatic Christians, deprogrammers, antagonistic governments, legal battles, etc.
Yet, Anuttama tells us, by implication, that Srila Prabhupada was not "cautious", thereby rather wild and undisciplined. Unlike RNS who is now presented as the new "cautious" example to save us from the mistaken blunt and wild preaching of Srila Prabhupada.
Moreover, in this introductory paragraph, comparing Srila Prabhupada and RNS, we are told that the preaching of RNS is "tailored to how he perceives his audience's receptiveness". So, here the implication is that Srila Prabhupada was not so skilled, but rather was bashing his audience with "not cautious" and "blunt" speech. Disgusting and offensive, and plainly out of touch with the brilliant and perfect way Srila Prabhupada preached with all potency according to time, person and place. How can Anuttama make such idiotic misperceptions of Srila Prabhupada's brilliant and so effective preaching? Words fail at this stupidity of Anuttama.]
"One has only to listen to his lectures before assembled Vaisnavas to understand that he knows only Krishna as his Lord."
[This is a red herring to distract us. The issue with RNS is not how he relates to the local devotees. But rather, the public persona and speaking of RNS.]
"However, his book reveals his natal approach to spiritual life as one of "inclusiveness," and his sentiments in this regard are in full bloom as the "man of the hour" status that he has attained."
[Again as RNS has been compared to Srila Prabhupada, then the implication is that Srila Prabhupada was not "inclusive" in his preaching, when in fact Srila Prabhupada was the very embodiment of "Wherever you go, whomever you meet, teach the science of Krsna".]
"There are plenty of examples of Srila Prabhupada not preaching the "party line" to various people, and he even befriended a diehard atheist in India for many years without significantly challenging him."
[This is waffle. What is this "party line"? Srila Prabhupada preached the "Absolute Truth", to have this characterized as a "party line" is vulgarity, and more detestable inappropriate language.]
"Instead, he engaged him in enthusiastically supporting the Movement. (I forget his name; he was in Bombay and helped with the temple project.)"
[Here almost accidentally, Anuttama say something positive about the skill of Srila Prabhupada. Rather like, Sisupala inadvertently glorifying Sri Krsna.]
"So I think there is plenty of wriggle room for SP's disciples to preach according to their realizations and capacities without being labeled as mayavadi's, rebels, demons, impersonalists, sentimentalists, etc."
[Again the strawman tactic. A wild distracting assertion that all critics are going overboard and enviously (remember anyone who critics the GBC is "envious") calling people "demons," etc. When, in fact, the prevailing doubts about RNS are well substantiated and sastrically based.]
"I believe that we have to be more nuanced in our appreciation of other godbrother/sisters/nephew/niece preachers - all of whom necessarily pale in the light of the mahabhagavat, Srila Prabhupada."
[Such irony! After crudely insulting Srila Prabhupada, Anuttama talks down to us telling us to be "more nuanced" and have "appreciation". Physician heal thyself! Actually it is because the experienced preachers of ISKCON are very "nuanced" in their appreciation that they have so many reservations about the preaching of RNS.]
"Let's remember that no one can hold a candle to His Divine Grace when it comes to delivering the message of Lord Caitanya; to expect anyone to be nearly as good as him is going to cast that person in a shadow."
[Anuttama is the very person who should do the remembering about the glorious and most skillful preaching of Srila Prabhupada. Again this is most ironic. He tells us to do the very thing that he should obviously doing.]
"Radhanath may not preach like me or you, but he is certainly effective. His congregation is living proof of his potency to inspire. Let him do his thing without so much criticism. See where it all goes."
[Actually, Anuttama has a point here: we will "see where it all goes" – just like the "effective" and "inspiring" preaching of so many of the GBC rubber-stamped gurus. If he had written just these words only and stopped, he would be have been better situated, instead of designating Srila Prabhupada as "blunt" and "not cautious".]
"Trust him a little."
["Trust him very little with the history of GBC rubber-stamped gurus being what it is, and with the direct involvement of RNS in the vicious murder of Sulocana dasa be very cautious" would have been a more sensible appeal.]
"He's a nice Yid from Highland Park, Illinois. He's not unlike you and I. He needs some down time; he likes prasadam;"
[Here Anuttama tries to come down from his GBC ivory tower and show us that he's ‘one of the people', using the same language as what he thinks all us common folk use. So, very smartly, and so informally, he calls RNS a "yid". Well, calling a Jew a "yid" is very derogatory; rather like calling an African a "nigger". This ISKCON Communications Minister is such a genius with his language, not at all mundane. Actually, RNS is very "unlike you and me", for example in his recent life-story book, RNS informs that he fell into the Ganga and while drowning was initiated into the Maha-mantra and given "secret knowledge" by Ganga Devi. But hey, don't worry everything's alright because RNS needs "down time" and surprise, surprise "He likes prasadam". What revelations we are receiving from the Communications Minister!]
"he can banter with the rich and famous and, at the same time, even with me."
[So Anuttama now tells us what RNS is preaching: He's "bantering with the rich and famous" and "even with me (Anuttama)". This is so reassuring to know that now preaching is "bantering", no longer that wild "blunt speech" of Srila Prabhupada. This is pathetic rationalization.]
"Yeah, he likes to control the conversation, doesn't seem to want to listen as much as speak,"
[Here Anuttama tells us that RNS is narcissistic – just like all the other crash and burn GBC rubber-stamped gurus we have seen for decades. How reassuring and convincing this is of RNS's validity.]
"he carries a few blemishes from his past association, etc."
[Talk about euphemism. RNS's "few blemishes" is that he allegedly instigated and organized the murder of Sulocana dasa. After the murder, the murder's first stop was to hide out at the preaching center of RNS, who then allegedly organized the murder contract payment. And this "past association" for whom he was apparently ready to murder to protect was Kirtanananda Swami, an active predatory homosexual pedophile, who, wait for it, was also into this watered down Interfaith, I'm OK, you're OK, hogwash nonsense that is evident in RNS.]
"Maybe he even has some pride! Not surprising. Don't we all? He's really more like you and I than we think,"
[Here the Communications Minister continues with his common touch by insulting us all. How wonderful and convincing. RNS has "pride", and yet "we all" have pride also. So now everything is hunky-dory because we are all proud like RNS, therefore we should all forget the past and present activities of RNS.]
"yet he's dedicated his energies to carrying the message that Krishna is God."
[Yes, but is that "message" unchanged. This is the actual objection to RNS, but Anuttama chooses to ignore that issue, and tries to soft-soap us all with his common touch.]
"And he has been cooperating with ISKCON for many years."
[This short sentence could easily slip by, but is actually the most significant. Popping up at the end, it reveals what is driving this claptrap paragraph of Anuttama. RNS is "co-operating with ISKCON for many years". Anuttama is letting the cat out of the bag. RNS is not ‘in ISKCON', but rather "co-operating". Yes, everything RNS controls is not registered in the name of ISKCON. His operation is legally distinct. And now RNS is a big media personality "bantering with the rich and famous". So it is best to keep RNS on board and "co-operating". Anuttama knows that RNS is on a weird trip, but can't do anything about it. RNS is just too powerful now, so instead of speaking the truth of the situation Anuttama tries to waffle and soft-soap his readers. This is called "real politick", meaning the real politics and necessary compromise of the material world.
After all, if the GBC were to get on the case of RNS, then this absolute guru might just tell his disciples "History is repeating itself. My godbrothers are envious of my success. I order that henceforward, my disciples should have nothing to do with ISKCON." With all those "rich and famous" involved that would not be good for ISKCON. But the actual fact is that RNS already tells his disciples to have only distant and formal relations with ISKCON. Not perhaps because we might pollute his disciples with our envy. But rather because RNS knows that in ISKCON, everyone knows that he was centrally involved in the murder of his godbrother, Sulocana dasa, and that he supported the perverted Kirtanananda, and now carries on the same weird deviant ‘preaching'. To be fair, Anuttama has a practical point: why castigate RNS, he's just too powerful right now. And if he does crash and burn, then he's not "in" ISKCON, just "co-operating".]
"Certainly, I, or you, may not agree with some of his "liberal" views, but is that reason to continue to disparage his style of preaching?"
[Well, yes! If RNS is not following in the footsteps of the previous Acaryas, but rather the preaching footsteps of the murderous pervert Kirtanananda, then this is certainly a matter of great concern. And just like our Founder-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, we should all be ready to "disparage" such watered-down hogwash.]
"Like I said, we must embrace a more nuanced understanding of the various arms of preaching styles"
[Here Anuttama quotes himself as his own vindication – no wonder that earlier he brought up "pride" and projected it on all of us, his readers. He speaks down to us. We should not be "blunt" like Srila Prabhupada, but be up to fashion and "more nuanced" like himself, Anuttama. Anuttama has shown us just how "nuanced" he is. Anuttama has called the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, the society he pretends to serve, of "blunt speech", implied that Srila Prabhupada is not "cautious" in his preaching, not "inclusive", etc. If there is anyone who should be more "nuanced", it should be the dolt Anuttama dasa.]
"and always remember that no one will ever equal Srila Prabhupada - at least in our hearts."
[This is just some soft-soap waffle to get the readers on board with the greatly nuanced Anuttama and not criticize the present big elephant, RNS. We don't need Anuttama to remind us about Srila Prabhupada; Anuttama started his hogwash by mindless, offhand offensive nonsense towards Srila Prabhupada and spent the rest of the time being an apologist for RNS, who seems to be following Kirtanananda in his "preaching style", not the Acaryas of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya.]
Anuttama just presents the same old, same old of the GBC: Keep quiet and better still, put your head in the sand. But he has a fair point. The RNS story will play out to its inevitable conclusion. And why should the GBC start a fight that it can't win with RNS? Better to keep RNS on board and "bantering with the rich and famous". But why does Anuttama have to do his diplomacy thing by being offensive to Srila Prabhupada? Further, being of evidently "blunt" intelligence himself, Anuttama presumes that all his reader are of the same dull ilk as himself. In this way he insults the intelligence of the general body of devotees with his evident hogwash.
Anuttama is thus not qualified to continue in this Communications Minister post, having insulted Srila Prabhupada, rationalized the deviations of RNS, and being condescending to the general body of Srila Prabhupada devotees. But of course there will be no change. Anuttama is part of the untouchable oligarchy that rules ISKCON. The first priority of an oligarchy is survival, and then to maintain its autocratic control by any means.
Yes, welcome to the real world of GBC ISKCON politics, bantering with the rich and famous, and saying hogwash. But, if you want to leave this world of nonsense tin-pot charlatan spiritualists, then "follow in the footsteps of the previous Acaryas" and leave far behind the association of motivated deviant pretenders who are surely devoid of the mercy of Sri Krsna.