Who is the successor?
The Problems, the Offences, the Solution
BY: GADI DAS
A three-part series.
We are going to take one more dead aim at the problems... then we are going to take dead point blank aim at offences that created the problems... and ladies and gentlemen, we are going to take dead point blank aim at the solution. In this section we are going to clarify the present mood, the lack of spirit, and why our society has blended back into non-exciting existence. Why a few sparks are not enough, when you need a blazing fire.
It's one thing to complain, lament, curse about the problems... which by the way, it seemed appropriate to almost curse in my last essay. It just seemed needed at that moment to make the emphasis. Because I can see what clearly could have been... of course at the time I could not help either... we all drifted... away from the core sweetness of our teacher and our sampradaya.
There is right and there is wrong... even practicing Krishna consciousness to one degree or another with offence... nam bas... will provide a good feeling, but when you practice Krishna Consciousness correctly, you will laugh and you may cry... at what you called Krishna consciousness previously. That is when you reach sudha nam. The happiness there is a million times greater than nam bas This is what I mean by core sweetness. Srila Prabhupada lavishly distributed that core sweetness... then he left... but it is up to us to discover, maintain and spread that core sweetness.
As the temples in North America were abandoned ... ever so gradually ... the devotees felt a growing need for association, and a need to feel something unified again. Alachua was born. I was there at the inception of Alachua... one of the first board members, feeling the same thing as everyone else... how to recapture the spirit? The deities of Gaura Nitai were in a singlewide trailer... but somehow, the energy started flowing towards Alachua... There was new hope... devotees started moving there, away from the place of their original service shelter … the place that once was a vibrant shelter for their soul ... trying again to find that shelter.
[PADA: A devotee from Alachua Florida area tells PADA, this is a small city located in the middle of the Bible belt. Its not really a forward thinking place where devotees are going to have much success preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya, and there is no urban place for samkirtana, there is no big college for preaching, etc. Yet, there are a lot of Christian revival groups and so forth, ok its sort of like West Virginia.
He said -- this was basically designed as a hang out place for burnt out fringies. Ok then! The he says, there has been a group of devotees who smoke pot and take intoxicants around here; there has been some football TV watching around here; there has been some wife swapping going on around here; there has been some suicides from depression around here; and there is a problem with more than a few devotees ending up in the Alachua jail for various reasons, and so forth. Its basically a sort of "out of control" social club.]
Some funds were collected and I believe the goal for the first temple shell was $200,000. Somehow it was raised... I became less involved, but happy to see the influx. Almost suddenly there were devotees everywhere... they were coming to try and find something that was lost. Did they find it? Mostly not... Did they find anything? Yes, social interactions... Were they necessarily transcendental? Not necessarily... Some futile attempts such as get rich quick schemes, and social controversilations... unhealthy sense gratifications and interactions, and even several suicides. No, I don't think they found what they were looking for...
The yearning for deep, meaningful bhajan... gone. In fact, most devotees were more interested about how to make a buck than how to chant more. Just kinda hanging out with my old prabhus... (By the way, this does not constitute association with devotees. 'Association' means with serious devotees, for very serious purpose.) Maybe a little computer preaching... just kinda semi-retired... watch a little football... a little NFL... and God knows what else... Hit the Sunday feast once in a while... Stay loose but kinda connected...
[PADA: Right, the social beeja club.]
Because of offences, things that were once considered impossible have become commonplace and openly displayed. The easy ones are watching TV, listening to unhealthy music and lyrics, unhealthy movies, eating at restaurants... keeping up with the dases ... i.e. fancy cars and homes, mundane education. Even those who know better were going back to college, encouraging our youngsters to aspire for material goals ... go to college, get good jobs, get money ... and glorifying those youngsters with pomp when they graduated, etc. (Just like the Indians.) And because we have drifted back so far, now we are resembling the mice we once were, forgetting that we were once made tigers... And now teaching our children how to be nice mice too...
[PADA: Again become a mouse, heh heh heh.]
Here's an unpleasant example:
Recently we had a surprise visit from a sannyasi, GBC. This was very soon after a certain sadhu sanga in North Carolina. Although I will not provide any names, it's important to note that the sadhu sanga just finished, and that's why he was nearby. When he called, he was heading in this direction, with a disciple.
I felt a little good... a little nervous... and asked him when he would be here, and if we could do some kirtan... His answer was discouraging... "No, we won't have time for kirtan... just want to stop in for a bit", etc... Well, what time do you think you will be here?... "Oh, about noon"... OK, we will be making ready... Now it's noon... waiting, waiting, ... called him, no answer... Finally around 3 pm he arrives... "Where have you been?" (We kinda put our things on hold here to make a nice greeting.) "Oh, we decided to take the Jack Daniels tour. (And that was not what I wanted to hear.)
For those of you who may not know what Jack Daniels is, it's a very famous whiskey... and the tour is to see how it is made and there are samples given... not to say that anyone "tasted", but why put yourself in such a position to be criticized -- especially being guru, sannyasi, and a GBC?
I have been here for 7 years and I never had the thought to go on the Jack Daniels tour. Anyway, there were no external signs of sannyasa dress ... jeans, plaid shirt, no tilak, etc ... So we had darshan of Nitai Gaurachandra, Radhe Murari... had a little prasad, he slipped me a crisp... very crisp $100 bill... and left. The devotees here are smart... very smart. You cannot fool them... They were shocked and disappointed. They know what a sannyasi is, they know that this was WAY off track. It just serves to illustrate the sinking of Vaisnava principles, and the slide back from tiger to mouse.
[PADA: Right, why is the GBC allowing their sannyasa gurus to behave this way? Where is the standard for sannyasa and guru being upheld? Why doesn't the GBC reign in these bogus swamis?]
There is right and wrong... There is a right way to be sannyasi... and there is a wrong way... by acting on whim… kinda 'do what I want', the sannyasi opens himself up for ridicule. And only by acting properly in that ashram, one generates respect. So there is right and wrong. We can't simply go around in some sentimental mood saying basically, 'I'm OK, you're OK...' Where does that end...? Our behavior has to be guided by guru, sadhu and shastra... no speculation, no whims... no nonsense!
There is right and wrong... Our society does not know the vital tattvas... jiva, guru, maya... etc., or essential truths contained in our books. There is knowledge about everything, and especially relating to the science of bhakti... It does not take much observance to see that, without understanding essential tattvas and essential siddhantas, the whole affair has become a churchy, sentimental goo.
For instance, when someone leaves his body, the sentiment is: "Oh, he or she went back to Godhead." Well the siddhanta or appropriate conclusion, according to guru, sadhu, and shastra, dictates some very different possibilities, according to that soul's actual loving, or non-loving attachment to Krishna. The person may have been pleasing to be around, doing service his whole life, cordial, etc., but his destination may very well be another birth to continue his or her aspirations to attain true attachment to Krishna.
Another example ... there are gurus who have fallen down ... first tattva … this should never, big never happen ... and yet when it does, there is so much sentimental energy toward that person... Oh, he was so sincere, I'm sure he will get back to being his old self again, and keep making disciples ... Well if you are informed about the words of guru, sadhu, and shastra, you may not be so sentimental towards this person. You may regard him quite differently... compassionately, but differently.
[PADA: Right, to say gurus fall down should never happen, but this is the pillar idea of the GBC, gurus are often falling down left, right and center. Why is this bogus siddhanta being allowed?]
By and large this sentiment stems from prejudice -- prejudice for one's organization, which blinds one to the real facts and restricts one from seeing the truth... This person may never have been qualified to be guru... you may have to accept some pretty harsh realities... Prejudice will allow you to continue to worship such a person even though he has proven to be completely unqualified... Such is the danger of being too blinded by prejudice of one's institution... and not reading these precious books. (This reference is from Caitanya Siksamrta by Srila Bhaktivinode Prabhupada.)
This is just one little snippet. It's not a wonder that anyone who reads these books, with specific instructions, has a sense of bewilderment when they experience this hypocrisy. Things that just do not match up with guru, sadhu and shastra. It's not a wonder that strong thinking persons find it impossible to accept the institutional offerings of the awarded "guruships".
There is right and wrong, and something is very wrong if the members are moving deeper and deeper into material achievement, and farther and farther away from renunciation. I'm speaking of the kind of renunciation that comes with proper spiritual practice. So if you read Srila Prabhupada's books you will find what is right, and you will see what is wrong... and Prabhupada's books are not within the realm of illusion... they are perfect. (And don't change them for any reason.)
So READ, CHANT, and make yourself ready to experience the height of spiritual happiness always. This is what we go by here, and it is infallible. You may want to see what we are doing, but it is very simple... chanting, dancing and feasting... but no fruitive endeavors... keep it pure, and you will become the pure devotee you are dreaming of.
But back to the empty temples... as there were a few dear souls hanging on to try and continue... very hard... in step the Indians... and that is another essay. As we wave goodbye to many Radha Krishna deities in the US, and offer pranams to Ganeshaji... what would his Divine Grace say, and what would he do? Too late now... we had our chance. So we huddle in Alachua... afraid of solitude and challenge... play it safe... but maybe not as safe as you think.
The illusory energy is mighty ... the semi-retired soul is very, very small... Without raising a heartfelt resistance, She will win... and oops, there goes another human life chance... again. Maybe semi-retired in Alachua was not the best choice. The sure bet is Harinam Sankirtana battlefield ... Don't know where it is? It's right with you in your home town, wherever that may be.
[PADA: Right, many devotees moved from the big cities and their big temples all over the USA to be in Alachua, so they basically abandoned formal ISKCON. They did not think it was important to keep their actual ISKCON temple going properly with the proper pooja for the pure devotee and so on.]
The problem is spirit. Do you have spirit? Can you remember what it is like to have Harinam spirit? There are so many problems, but all of them can be erased by Harinam Sankirana spirit. And when I say Harinam spirit, I am not just referring to 'on the street'... I'm referring also to one's own internal bhajan... chanting of Nam, on beads, on harmonium, kirtan etc...
This is the number one problem... without making Harinam the most important decision in your life, all other decisions will be tainted. By making Harinam Sankirtana your everything, you cannot make a bad decision. Your life becomes sublime and free from anxiety. But where and how is the best place for pure chanting? That my dear friends is for number 3 in this series... The next essay will be about the offences that brought us to this pitiful state.
See you in a week... my thoughts and prayers are with you always... There is not a shred of anger here, only thoughtful love and compassion. When you embrace guru, sadhu, shastra... there is no room for anger or argument. You are on solid ground, and when you are on solid ground, there is only love and compassion...
Your servant because of his mercy, Gadidas
… on call... email@example.com
[PADA: Alachua is basically a hodge podge:
(A) Rupanuga is there and he preaches that persons eventually engaged in illicit sex, drugs and crimes have been the appointed "Madhyama Adhikary gurus." Does he ever read any of Srila Prabhupada's books? Ever? Why does Rupanuga keep saying that acharyas make mistakes by appointing conditioned souls as Krishna's successor gurus?
(B) Jayadvaita swami is there and he preaches that Krishna's guru successors are often debauchees engaged in illicit sex. And he has some groupies falling at his feet there, all glories to the illicit sex guru's pooja program! And at least some of the children in the community are being taught that God's guru successors are often -- debauchees?
(C) Narayana Maharaja folks have a camp there, and he was the biggest cheer leader of Tamal and the GBC's gurus.
(D) An Alachua based ex-gurukula leader goes on TV there to say, he never had any training how to take care of children, so he is not to blame for the child abuse. Ummm, this guy was never trained that you have to feed children, and protect them from sexual predators?
(E) Ex-guru Harikesh was hanging out there, and he has bad things to say about ISKCON.
(F) Hrdayananda's Krishna West has a camp there.
(G) Alachua temple allows the GBC gurus to come there and preach the glories of their illicit sex acharya's sampradaya, so people there are being trained that our guru sampradaya is chock full of debauchees?
(H) There are a few Prabhupadanugas there, trying to fight these massive cobwebs, but its hard to get the deviant's folks to change.
(I) There are alleged fringe folks there holding informal parties that have intoxicants and so on. And then there are some reported football night groups ... that are purportedly drinking beer etc.]
(J) There are complaints that some of the "business scheme" devotees ripped off various innocent non-business devotees with bogus business investments. And the temple apparently does nothing to control or reign in these bogus swindlers.
(K) Some of the retired devotees in some cases gave many of their years to ISKCON, and thus they did not pay sufficient funds to their Social Security Insurance (SSI) account, and so they are only going to get a few hundred dollars a month to retire on, if that in some cases. And a number of these folks are elderly -- but are currently having to hold a part-time job in order to survive, but when they can no longer work, their prospects look a little bleak. And there is no apparent back up plan to help these folks ...
(L) Some of the ex-kulis who live around there are unhappy with the temple for having some of the GBC's leaders speak there, after these same leaders created the molesting program and so many other deviations. So they allegedly boycott the temple, except maybe once in awhile for a festival.]
(M) Acyutananda goes there and he writes basically a defense of the GBC's living guru program. And then he gets upset with PADA for publishing his letter.
(N) Kalakantha is trying to straddle the line between supporting the GBC's illicit sex guru sampradaya, and our idea of promoting Srila Prabhupada, and some folks tell us he feels a lot of pressure knowing that the GBC's guru process is untenable and is collapsing.
(O) A few of the wife swapping problems ended badly, apparently one man hung himself from a tree in front of the house of the woman he was having an affair with -- when she tried to cut him off .... and there are reports of other "drama laden love affairs" with all sorts of accompanying gossip etc. Oddly, this is what Srila Prabhupada said happened in the post-1936 Gaudiya Matha, drug taking, illicit sex, wife swapping -- among the so-called rank and file members -- after their mission fell apart.
(P) Some of the Paramadvaiti folks are supposedly taking over Miami and other Florida programs, and the GBC apparently has no counter program to combat this.
There does not seem to be enough people willing to make a stand to establish the exclusive worship of the acharya Srila Prabhupada.
Anyway! This is good progress Gadi dasa. You are getting closer and closer to making a bull's eye on the actual problems! ys pd]