Saturday, December 17, 2011

ISKCON's post-1977 problems


... Some of the ISKCON leaders have been trying to recover a “virginity” for themselves and for the Organisation by adjusting the public relations work to accommodate the taste of perspective “customers” who could finance the temples and centers – especially traditionalist Hindus who needed a place to perform their marriages and support their social interactions, celebrate their favorite festivals, and feel encouraged in their ancestral beliefs and lifestyle. Another good “slice of the market pie” is constituted by those who are interested in getting an “alternative” academic course on conventional indological studies, since mainstream conventional academy is taught by professors that do not believe or follow the religious conclusions expressed in the texts they present.
Some ISKCON leaders have therefore changed their clothing into a more “professoral” style and created a good living for themselves with publications, seminars and courses of their own creation, especially with the help and support of the Mother Organisation to which they render an important public relations service. These developments are ideologically very distant from the intentions of the Founder of the Organisation, as they tend to become spiritually cynical and church-like, aimed at just giving a new coat of respectable-looking paint over the serious ideological problems that continue to fester deeper inside, unaddressed and unsolved.
Unfortunately, any discussion on these issues is perceived by ISKCON people as “offensive dissent”, “betrayal”, and “heretic rebellion”, and those who dare express anything that is not strictly according to the “Institutional policies” are actively persecuted in various ways, even when they openly dissociate from the Organisation. This persecution also strikes those who do not recognize the Organisation’s “monopoly” over the “trade marks” of Iskcon’s religious business, such as chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, teaching or writing about Bhagavad gita (and other traditional scriptures), opening a Krishna temple, naming one’s vegetarian restaurant “Govinda” or “Hare Krishna restaurant”, etc, even if they never express any criticism or antagonism towards Iskcon.
Those who dare to do so independently from the ISKCON umbrella Organisation or its sub-branches (also controlled by ISKCON) are sued, threatened of personal violence, sabotaged and opposed in all possible ways. So, under all aspects, ISKCON has become another Vatican.

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