Saturday, April 1, 2017

ISKCON's Mission Drift (Jaya Madhava Dasa)

Is Srila Prabhupada's Intended ISKCON Gone?


— Revealing the Fake News in ISKCON, Part One.

Some thoughts and reflections on the sad state of ISKCON in the West

Last Year's USA presidential elections brought out a new popular slogan: "Mainstream Media and its FAKE NEWS". But ISKCON has Fake News too! As we have been watching in horror the white washing and watering down of Krsna consciousness in HDG Srila Prabhupada's Movement, we also have seen the Rise of ISKCON's Fake News!

Also last year's 50th Anniversary film celebrating ISKCON's 50 Years was a disgrace. Starting out with mundane music and hip references to HDG Srila Prabhupada as 'The Swami', it painted a fake news picture of the state of ISKCON and inadvertently, it completely revealed how badly mission drifted ISKCON has become 50 years later. (More details on that in Part Two of this article.)

Then we saw the recent UK Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade green float and was totally shocked that the devotees had no clue this was going way too far… "for preaching". We are not this body but apparently we got it wrong. Now we're IRISH!!! This is what's happened to ISKCON, no checks and balances, no accountability to Srila Prabhupada's original Krsna consciousness standards and practices. Anything goes as preaching and is flaunted as GOOD ISKCON News these days. Very, very disturbing and off preaching.

Too many articles on and ISKCON News are just an embarrassment to see anymore, much less to read... complete with Fashion Shows, mundane topics, political maneuvering, hero worship of unqualified leaders and stupid trivia. I was so disturbed by all the Fake News, I all but stopped looking at it.

This is not what Srila Prabhupada wanted for preaching or for the future of his ISKCON Movement. No, Not at all. But blind followers can't see the forest for the trees. Instead of strictly following Srila Prabhupada, some devotees are guru cult followers, and follow their guru even if he doesn't properly follow Srila Prabhupada.

Some leaders with crooked agendas have hijacked ISKCON and taken it in the wrong direction. Therefore we have to speak out and point out that ISKCON's going into dangerous mission drift and if not fixed in our lifetimes, the damage may be unrepairable.

His Divine Grace stated, "The whole world follows America", therefore His plan was to make America the leader in Krsna consciousness preaching, and that's what we saw in the late 1960s and 70s in America. Since Srila Prabhupada left the planet, we've seen Mission Drift.

From the USA, western temples are totally Hinduized and compromised. No Bhakta Programs exist, no strong book distribution. (How can you have strong book distribution with no temple devotees?) Few or no Hari Nams much anymore, no devotee care, no proper respect for senior devotees or engaging them, no local devotees as temple presidents… instead paid Indians (complete with high salaries and a nice car and a home with mortgage). Thus, a once powerful ISKCON degraded to Mundane Religion status.

His Divine Grace wanted strict Vedic culture established in ISKCON. But ISKCON has failed. Reform and revival of Srila Prabhupada's Intended 'original ISKCON' in the West has been replaced by New Aged, Hinduized ISKCON and a GBC and society in full tilt denial, and then they often make Fake News instead of addressing mission drift in ISKCON. It's the opposite of what ISKCON temples were supposed to be in America!

Here's one tragic example of a well know ISKCON temple gone OFF into Hinduism. Although the temple is maintained, the cost to original Krsna conscious preaching was devastating. I know in Atlanta ISKCON some Indians come on green cards and end up outside, running mundane businesses (such as 7-11 type convenience stores to make money. Shops which are no place for devotees, much less to work there. Shops which sell meat, fish, eggs alcohol, cigarettes, porno magazines and nonsense.)

[PADA: Correct, recently an imported Indian devotee went out and started working for a karmi restaurant as soon as he got his green card.] 

No GBC or Guru has protested this and this is still going on covertly and quietly by ISKCON Indian devotees in Atlanta Georgia (and other temples) In Atlanta. One ex-Kuli was even shot to death in such a job in an attempted robbery. Very sad and a totally avoidable situation. Why should ISKCON Indians come to the west to work in sinful places? How can Indians do temple deity Service and work in 7-11's and sell sin?

[PADA: And a Hindu lady who manages a Taco Bell was made a temple president in USA. And the Prabhupada devotees were then banned from this temple.]

No GBC has banned these Indians from making money in the USA. Illegally. They come on Missionary Visas and many end up in maya, living the so-called American Dream. (Which we as Prabhupada's disciples left for moving into a temple. Surrender to Krsna no longer exists in most ISKCON temples. How ironic that 40 years later, ISKCON's become what Srila Prabhupada's disciples left. It is now Material Life mixed with some Krsna Consciousness.

[PADA: Four hired Bengali poojaris would go off to the dounut shop and chat with the lovely waitresses there for an hour, after they performed arotike.] 

Many ISKCON temples in the West have left Srila Prabhupada's intended Mission. Yet ISKCON News paints all the pretty pictures of preaching… that's Fake News. Real News addresses all issues honestly and openly and with a solid basis using Guru, Sadhu and Shastra to validate it. Not Just silly PR promotions with Hollywood stars, the latest karmi fads mixed into Krsna Consciousness and mundane news.

[PADA: Mukunda swami hid all the bad news and tried to paint everything as rosy too in his ISKCON World Review ...]

Current day, ISKCON has failed in the west. They went Hinduized (that's not Fake News.) So, it's just one more typical tragic example of Hinduizing an American ISKCON temple to death. Srila Prabhupada came to the Atlanta Temple because book distribution was huge there. Many locals were joining the temple and of course, he came to see the Deities. Since then, since the time of sacrifices and strong preaching at ISKCON Atlanta it has turned into a mere Hindu church. 

The Atlanta Temple has fallen down from its original glory of making local devotees, distributing thousands and thousands of books and making local devotees. Now zero. From being formally a huge book distribution temple, downgraded to being merely a Hinduized business, and no GBC says a word of objection. That's why we write articles on the Sun, in the hope that someday this will be corrected -- not accepted as normal Krsna consciousness. Not ISKCON Fake News for cheap PR propaganda.

Most Western temples are now Hinduized and run by imported devotees, and temple presidents are from India and push the Hindu $$ Agenda. Thus locals don't come or join, and it's not getting any better in the west in ISKCON. Basically they killed Krsna consciousness for Westerner in the west. By that I mean the GBC and so-called leaders in ISKCON. When you change the mood of preaching Krsna consciousness, you can attract the wrong crowd of people (as well as sincere people).

Mission drift has attracted mission drift oriented devotees, and the standards and practices in ISKCON have been changed, damaged and compromised to death. How in the world can Lord Krsna be pleased? We're still waiting for an answer from the GBC Body! How can HDG Srila Prabhupada be pleased at the demise of his ISKCON Krsna consciousness standards and practices? Devotees... GBC… please wake up!

I know, I know, some devotees will cry "You're fault-finding." Here's my reply to you who sound so much like the recent mundane political Liberals rather than face the truth and do the tapasya, sacrifices necessary to revive, repair and restore ISKCON as it was -- a Sankirtan Movement for locals in each country (not Indians in the West).

But there are serious disciples and followers of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada who won't just sit still and watch all the hard work of Srila Prabhupada and his disciples be destroyed by neglect and compromise. They speak out and preach and also establish exactly what Srila Prabhupada wanted for His intended ISKCON-where we live. It can be done, we don't need the GBC for permission.

ISKCON was intended as a shelter for millions of U.S. locals to surrender, leave hellish material life. People were encouraged to even leave their family and school and jobs and join the Sankirtan Movement of Lord Caitanya, for Bhakti Yoga, devotional service to Krsna, unmotivated. Surrender to Krsna and tapasya was encouraged.

We reflect about Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON of the 1960s and 70s. The Movement was pure and empowered by Krsna and Srila Prabhupada's mercy. Those days, local people were preached to -- to become Full-time temple devotees. Householders and brahmacaris and brahmacarinis, all were given life shelter and care and love and respect. That isn't so now; now thousands of devotees are abandoned by the GBC and ISKCON Society. No one talks about it. Apparently we are disposable.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada initiated five thousand disciples. In other words, there is now no shelter given for life for people who had joined and moved into an ISKCON temple. No help, no outreach, no care, and if they dare point out mission drift in ISKCON, even now they are still banned, abandoned or just ignored by temple leaders and the GBC Body. Is that Krsna Consciousness? The answer is NO.

ISKCON falls off the cliff at its Calcutta 50th Anniversary celebrations. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ISKCON in Calcutta was a huge failure, presenting a New Age, Hatha Yoga, Hinduized ISKCON… not Srila Prabhupada's 'Original' ISKCON. Instead of pure Krsna consciousness we saw ISKCON Yoga Mat exercise nonsense. ISKCON was not meant for hospitals and eye clinics New Aged nonsense. There are a lot of 'nots' in ISKCON that ISKCON was not supposed to be...

Not a Hinduized ISKCON with a $$ marriage business and demigod worship, not Mayavadi guru's association. Not Feminist or Gay agendas in ISKCON, not bogus gurus in ISKCON, not Sannyasis with huge bank accounts and no accountability. Not programs run by unqualified devotees (like unauthorized Kirtan festivals), not paid employees in temples. Not changing Srila Prabhupada's books, not refusing to protect, help or listen to the few left Srila Prabhupada's disciple who care about ISKCON but are marginalised by the GBC, giving them at best lip service respect, etc. This is vaisnava-aparadha.

Why have Prabhupada's disciple left ISKCON? Yes, there is maya but also there was maya in ISKCON, and many prabhus were abandoned, and are neglected to this day. To show you an example of the mindset of impersonalism and heartlessness of some GBCs and gurus, I give this recent example.

A few months ago one of my sincere godbrothers who I've known from 1975 Philly temple and Radha Damodara was asking a GBC godbrother about the serious mission drift in ISKCON. The GBC told him to his face: "Look, you were in ISKCON only 10 years and you went to live outside, thus you have no right to say anything about ISKCON. As a matter of fact you are no longer in ISKCON. You have to live in ISKCON to have a say." But frankly, what he said makes no sense, as so few devotees who join ISKCON now and get initiated move into a temple anymore. That's a fact! Most Gurus aren't interested in restoring a Bhakta Program or reviving the brahmacari-brahmacarini ashrams in the west! So what's his point?

According to this GBC/Guru, he told him Srila Prabhupada's disciples who pointed out deviations in ISKCON and are no longer living in ISKCON; they should shut up and are just "Life Members", not real devotees. I am not making this story up. Just see the sad, ruthless mentality of some of the heartless GBCs and Gurus.

Funny enough that same GBC who called a Prabhupada disciple a mere 'Life Member' asked my godbrother the question: "Why do so many devotees hate the GBC?" Is this for real? You see how OUT of touch the GBC are now! It's frightening and tragic.

So now in 2017, with most temples in the west run and attended by 95% Indians, they see only one side of the picture (theirs) or news in ISKCON News and Propaganda designed to not rock their boat and lose their donations. No Indians are concerned about mission drift in the west because they are the mission drift, and the managers encourage them to support the temple. It's a vicious cycle that ISKCON has created, that it can't get out of. That's a fact and a disaster.

Mostly, Fake News is the only thing we will see on ISKCON News or because ISKCON has turned its back on too many of Srila Prabhupada's Instructions. The ISKCON Fake News is desperate to print any nonsense and promote it as Krsna conscious news. But the reality is harsh… ISKCON's in deep trouble spiritually due to no strong Krsna conscious leadership. It's become a lazy society for making money to support temples in the West (and elsewhere). If someone dares quote Srila Prabhupada's strong preaching, you can expect that devotee to be ignored or even banned by ISKCON leaders.

How can I say this? Well, I joined ISKCON in 1975 and it was a far better ISKCON at that time at following Srila Prabhupada. Austerity and preaching was ISKCON's focus then. Not making money and catering to Hindus and New Age nonsense. No, it was trying to be pure and austere. No one dared preach mundane yoga, welfare work, Veganism, Feminism, gay marriage, or associating with Mayavadis, but now it's "I'm OK, you're OK". In 1960s and 70s ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada's preaching mood was strong and followed. (By the way, I've been close with ISKCON devotees since I was a teen, in 1970.)

Now, ISKCON mostly has no temple devotees anymore, few or no Hari Nams, No strong book distribution, and there are no programs to revive original Airport book distribution or college programs (gone). The risk factor is not in devotee's vocabulary anymore, thus devotees are not seen at major events anymore. Can you imagine the great preaching, for instance, at a President Trump rally? Or any protest? At least everyone on Hari Nams… but devotees in the USA are now sight unseen. All vanished from American ISKCON. The personal person-to-person reach out to locals, like Radha Damodara programs, The Street" person-to-person book distribution, etc. Setting up a table in front of Walmart is good, but not enough. People have to see devotees in devotee's dress on Hari nams and get contacted in person by book distributers who take a risk, and take a risk on Hari nams. Unfortunately this is not done much anymore and the Bhakta Programs are virtually gone.

It's the 50th Anniversary of ISKCON, and what's to celebrate?

If you want real, sincere evaluations of practicing Krsna consciousness and exposing and solving ISKCONs problems, you need to hear about the very real deviations in ISKCON and try to fix them. Many devotees are desperate to reverse these problems, but solid Krsna conscious action must be taken. Chant your 16 rounds daily and associate with devotees (only). Follow the 4 regs. Best you stick to reading the Sampradaya Sun and writing articles for it. Best you study and distribute Srila Prabhupada's original books. Try to do service of original preaching with an ISKCON temple, although for the most part, that's now a lost cause, because they contradict too many of Prabhupada's instructions. Best you preach the original ISKCON in your circle of locals in your area. Just do it.

Someday ISKCON will be there for millions of people. Unfortunately, that day is not now. Varnasrama farm projects simply don't exist, even after over 40 years. Before that even has a hope of being possible, ISKCON must face its deviations. The mission drift in ISKCON and the BBT MUST STOP and be reversed.

Problem | Solution

Guru reform, BBT reform (stop editing Prabhupada's books) - ban it. Revival of the Bhakta Programs, revival of Hari Nams and Book Distribution. Revival of the temple devotee ashrams… this is the only solution. Make temple devotees. Make varnasrama farms for devotees a reality, not a guest showpiece for tourists. Something Krsna conscious will happen after all. Some day ISKCON will rise to its original glory. Lord Krsna is in charge, and HDG Srila Prabhupada -- not people who compromise ISKCON.

So many compromises and offenses were/are made to ISKCON and its devotees. But there will be a point when Krsna will step in and do something, and it will be heavy. I'm sure our reporting the REAL News in ISKCON – not Fake News – will have its positive effects to reform and revive ISKCON in due course of time. I'm sure Krsna has a Plan.

Therefore sincerely, I want to thank the devotees who have stepped forward and written articles for the Sampradaya Sun, exposing the deviations, compromise and unbelievable mission drifts in ISKCON that are not stopping, not at all. Worse yet, it's not even being addressed at all by The GBC Body who are supposed to protect ISKCON and the BBT and Srila Prabhupada's perfect books (not change them).

Another recent problem is the situation with the New York Brooklyn scandal of trying to sell the temple. This attempted covert secret sale behind the GBC and devotees' backs is the behavior of cheaters. And this is not an isolated problem. Many ISKCON temples are not registered as ISKCON, that's all over ISKCON now, and many are at risk of sale.

We find another example in Australia, where recently one GBC sannyasi in maya has decided to mission drift ISKCON and register ISKCON under his name, changing the Krsna consciousness programs and practices. Putting the whole yatra at his whims, under his control. Negating completely the protection of ISKCON, accountability to the GBC and putting at risk ISKCON's core standards and practices and tampering with its legal registration. Ignoring Srila Prabhupada's intentions for ISKCON and making it impossible to revive and reform ISKCON back to his original intention for it.

These topics have been talked about extensively in the Sampradaya Sun. Topics which are ignored by the official ISKCON (Fake News) WHY? Because they have an agenda different from the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada. They think they know better than the Founder-Acharya. They are more interested in PR and Fake News, addressing so many useless issues which would make Srila Prabhupada livid with anger (of this I have no doubt), and refusing to cover the many important problems and issues ISKCON faces.

Finally, something that even shocked me… more Mundane nonsense on ISKCON News last year…

ISKCON News had an embarrassing article about a kuli's fashion business. Preaching "you are your body" with no shame on ISKCON News. With weird clothes, complete with bare chested men and a woman in mundane clothes and fashionable mundane poses. Sorry, this isn't Krsna Consciousness news.

How would Srila Prabhupada react to this garbage being promoted by ISKCON News as Krsna Consciousness? Any sincere devotee who knows Srila Prabhupada's mood of preaching and his instructions has the answer to this question. …But apparently not the GBC Body or some leaders in ISKCON.

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