" After the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, those faithful to Him kept apart from nondevotees, to avoid contamination. Seeing this, the personality of Kali sent his representatives in disguise to pollute the Vaisnava sampradaya.
Posing as Vaisnavas, they spread their wicked doctrines, and appeared so intelligent and devoted that only pure devotees could detect their real identity. Most devotees—not only the most neophyte—were enchanted by their tricks. In this way Kali's agents expertly introduced karma, jnana, and anyābhilāṣa in the Vaisnava sampradaya and caused suddha-bhakti to vanish from the world. ''
-HDG Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami-Maharaj. -From His Magazine- -The Harmonist
PART FIFTY-FIVE: From Here to Eternity...
by Kaliya Mardan Dasa
Shrila Prabhupada created centers of Vaikuntha in cities and towns all over the world so that all sincere souls might find shelter from the world of samsara through pure devotional service. He created his temples for executing the principles of genuine bhakti-yoga and nothing else. For the loyal followers of ISKCON (and I hope that I may include myself in that mix), Shrila Prabhupada is none other than an empowered pure devotee of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. His Divine Grace is a Shaktyavesha Avatara who has appeared on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to re-establish a genuine understanding of sanatana dharma all over the world.
For the less advanced persons struggling to enter into transcendental devotional service, he is a traditional Indian Swami teaching Vaishnavism. Such neophytes see him as a saintly personality who, on the order of his spiritual master, came to spread the lessons of Shrimad-Bhagavatam to a suffering world.
However, no matter how Shrila Prabhupada's mission is viewed, from whichever level of vision the devotee is trying to understand, the purpose of ISKCON remains one: the deliverance of fallen souls. Krishna consciousness is only meant for a single purpose—returning Krishna's disenfranchised parts and parcels to the divine transcendental service of the Lord's lotus feet.
The final word is that Lord Krishna sent His empowered pure devotee for this purpose and his success all over the world is proof of that. There are many side benefits that follow in the wake of Krishna consciousness which come naturally for the surrendered devotee. Such perks include better health, happiness, a satisfying social life, a nice family life, a sense of self-confidence, knowing what is to be done and what is not to be done, common sense, philosophical wisdom and proper use of wealth.
[PADA: These good results are the -- hopeful -- results of serving Krishna's mission. However, the process needs to be followed properly. If the process is mis-used, it can produce ill results, just like so many other "false religions" are producing problems around the globe.
None of these above good results are hardly existing substantially in the upper crust managing of the GBC of ISKCON. For starters, they are claiming to be diksha gurus and equals to Jesus. And thus they are taking sins as diksha gurus. This is causing all sorts of maladies, including what someone told us is "an epidemic" of these leader's ill health, fall down, if not premature death. And these folks are also turning ISKCON into a sort of Hindu mumbo jumbo Yoga class, as you have pointed out yourself.
Never mind all the spin-off public media scandals, expensive lawsuits, police raids, beatings, murders and assorted chaos -- and so on ad infinitum -- that their policy produces. Never mind that a number of these leaders have just gone stark raving bonkers.
And the children / gurukulis then became the unwanted progeny of this process and they ended up rejecting and abandoning ISKCON almost wholesale.
Then, a number of the rank and file became despondent over the chaos in their society. And this subsequently produced numerous social problems for them such as: divorces, drug addictions, alcohol addictions, fall downs, criminal regressions, running away to other Maths and / or other gurus, and overall disintegration of the social fabric of ISKCON.
Did I forget to mention this type of trauma has often caused the "layman" group to also to have health problems, including mental health problems, deaths from alcohol poisoning, drugs, and then we have the apparent fatal ailments / cancer epidemic in this group as well.]
Although Krishna consciousness is the blueprint to living joyously, the many benefits that follow along are actually by-products of the essence—bhakti-yoga. The devotee does not need any extraneous endeavor—he simply relies on Krishna by the grace of the pure devotee spiritual master.
[PADA: Here is the first problem. In ISKCON they say the spiritual masters are falling down left, right and center. The GBC gurus are in "a chain of gurus" -- some of whom are falling down into illicit sex with men, women and children, drinking Vodka and so on. Where is the "reliance on the pure devotee," when people have to worship bogus people instead of the pure devotee according to various vociferous GBC decrees and policies.]
To this end, for delivering fallen souls all over the world, Shrila Prabhupada named his magazine Back to Godhead. In other words, his Hare Krishna Centers are meant to be localized spots of Vaikuntha wherein conditioned souls can walk in and personally experience a taste of transcendental devotional service. Shrila Prabhupada's Shri Shri Radha-Krishna Temples are meant to restore the jiva living to his eternal function of loving servant at Krishna's lotus feet.
But when the by-products become emphasized—when exercise, happiness, peace of mind, or physical health become the goal—the shelter of pure devotional service becomes lost. This means that when temples sponsor programmes that emphasize vegetarianism, yoga, life coaching, festivals of color or even voting—then there is no difference between ISKCON and the world of samsara wherein the three modes of Nature are supreme.
[PADA: And the people leading ISKCON into all these deviations are the so-called post-1977 gurus.]
Reflecting mere piety or a material sense of goodness destroys the Society's set purpose for delivering fallen souls. There can be no deliverance from the world of birth and death if ISKCON comfortably merges into the world it was meant to deliver. Therefore, when the ISKCON centers are used for "bridge preaching" with pure devotional service de-emphasized or even hidden from the agenda, the movement is being destroyed from the inside. This is not mere paranoia because assaults on the principles of pure devotional service as taught by Shrila Prabhupada have become a very real threat to the future of ISKCON.
[PADA: Even in 1986 a senior ISKCON devotee told me, "We have borrowed the worst elements of both cultures" (India and Western). Its been known for quite a long time that the GBC was compromised with mundane consciousness.]
Substituting pure bhakti with mundane activities has become more prevalent especially since the publication of Radhanath's The Journey Home. Since the GBC in their ignorance has accepted this book as bona fide, this approval has become a convenient carte blanche to introduce mundane activities such as yoga exercises and life coaching into ISKCON centers.
[PADA: This guy is a Johnny come very late in the game. Jayatirtha was introducing "the new dispensation" of adding drugs to Krishna consciousness right out of the gate. All sorts of deviations have been going on left, right and center starting way back in the early 1980s and this was widely known at the time. These types of deviations have not just manifested recently, they have been going on all along since 1978.]
Things have gone so far downhill that "Ira the Yogacharya of Hair Yoga" has been invited to teach her exercises for enhanced physical beauty at Govardhan Eco-Village (see Part Forty-Nine of this series). This domino effect to hell has begun, and other ISKCON centers are joining in one after another, falling into the trap of offering paid yoga lessons to karmis. Since Radhanath and the other GBC members have decided that charging money for instructing mundane exercises is a swell way for ISKCON to rake in the shekels, who are the obedient members of ISKCON to object?
Practically the entire society in its obedience has become diluted, polluted and convoluted. But Shrila Prabhupada said it best and we have taken some instructions of the Founder-Acharya from a lecture delivered in Honolulu:
"People actually do not know what is religion; therefore we have got so many religious system, man-made, or concocted ideas."-Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Religion is the Same for Everybody "People actually do not know what is religion; therefore we have got so many religious system, man-made, or concocted ideas. Actually, religion means the law given by God. That is religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Just like the law given by the state, by the government, you have to accept it. There is no question that the government is Christian government or Muhammadan government or Hindu government.
"It doesn't matter. The law given by the government, you must accept. You cannot deny it. So actually God is neither Hindu God nor Muhammadan God nor Christian God. God is God. His power is omnipotent. It is equally applicable to Hindu, to Muslim, to Christian—anyone—to animal, to human being. Just like God has given this law, 'You must die.' This is applicable to everyone—Hindu, Muslim, Christian, man, animal, trees, birds, beasts, everyone. It cannot be disobeyed. That is law. That is God's law. You may be very much advanced in knowledge or so-called science, but because God says that in the material life you must die, you cannot avoid this law.
"That is called dharma. Dharma means the characteristic, that God has given this law that everyone should die; therefore all living beings' characteristic is that he must die. This is called religion. Similarly, God says that 'You are My eternal servant. You must obey Me.' That is religion. You try to understand the meaning of religion. Religion means the law given by God, and you must accept it. That is religion." The Eternal Dharma Cannot Be Manufactured "So people do not know. They manufacture religion. So how you can manufacture religion? Law can be given by the king, by the state, by the government. If you manufacture some law at your home, consulting your wife or father and mother, who will accept it? Nobody will accept.
"You may be puffed up that you have manufactured a law, but nobody will care for it. The law given by the state will have to be accepted, either you like it or don't like it. The law will not depend on your liking and disliking. You must accept. If you don't accept, then you are a law breaker; you will be punished. Similarly, the religion means, as Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad … sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (Bg. 18.66). That is religion, that 'You have manufactured so many types of religion. You give it up. Kick it out. This is religion: you surrender unto Me.'
"So if you become a surrendered soul to God—that means you become a devotee—then you are religionist. Otherwise you are criminal. Therefore śāstra says that you should follow the great devotees. That is religion. You cannot manufacture religion, you cannot concoct religion. You just try to follow the great personalities, and that is religion." All Devotees Are Mystics Who are Protected by the Supreme Mystic "A devotee never practices any mystic power. But a devotee, being protected by the supreme mystic, Kṛṣṇa, a devotee is never in danger in all circumstances. That is the instruction in this... So just to try … Try to remain a devotee always, and Kṛṣṇa will give you protection in all circumstance. There is no fear. Devotees, they remain devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa does everything. If something mystic or magic has to be shown, the devotee does not take any credit for that magic, because the magic is done by Kṛṣṇa for the sake of devotee.
"So he doesn't require to learn the art of magic to cheat the people. That is not. When magic is required, Kṛṣṇa plays. Kṛṣṇa is called Yogeśvara. Yoga is mystic power, and He is the Yogeśvara, master of yoga, mystic power. Yatra yogeśvaraḥ hariḥ. Just like Kṛṣṇa was on the chariot of the Kurukṣetra battle, Arjuna. Arjuna was facing enemies, big, big enemies like Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Dronācārya, and many other who were very very powerful. Arjuna was nothing before them. They are compared with timiṅgila, timiṅgila, a big fish which swallows up the whale fishes. So Mahārāja Parīkṣit said that 'Although they were timiṅgila-like, they could kill thousands of Arjuna, but still, because You were protecting him, sitting on his chariot, they were killed; Arjuna was not killed.'
"So the devotee, he doesn't require to acquire any mystic power. What mystic power Prahlāda could attain? He was only five years old. So there was no opportunity of acquiring any mystic power. But he was being protected by the supreme mystic, Kṛṣṇa. That should be a devotee's point of view. Don't waste your time for acquiring so-called mystic power. Just devote yourself to remain a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and you become the supreme mystic. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (6.47): yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntarātmanā śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ "There are many yogis, mystics, but Kṛṣṇa confirms that 'Of all the yogis, of all the mystics, a person who is always thinking of Me,' śraddhāvān bhajate yo mām, yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntarātmanā, 'always thinking Me, Kṛṣṇa, within himself: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare....'
"So Kṛṣṇa said, 'he is the best yogi.' Yoginām api sarveṣāṁ. Sarveṣam means 'of all.' 'Of all kinds of yogis, the best yogi is who is always thinking of Me.' That is Kṛṣṇa's philosophy, He is teaching in the Bhagavad-gītā. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (Bg. 18.65). Four things. If you sincerely do these four things—always think of Kṛṣṇa, man-manā; just become His devotee, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto; mad-yājī, worship Kṛṣṇa... Just like we do in the temple room. Man-manā... You can do worship anywhere if you are a devotee. A devotee can worship Kṛṣṇa anywhere, underneath a tree. Because Kṛṣṇa is in everyone's heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (Bg. 18.61). So if underneath a tree you think of Kṛṣṇa and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, that is sufficient."
"The Devotee Should Not be a Mercantile Man "Kṛṣṇa does not require any big paraphernalia. He only wants how you are a sincere devotee. That's all. And that devotional service can be discharged in any condition. Ahaituky apratihatā. It cannot be checked by the material circumstances. This is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And you see the five-years-old boy, how he was protected from all kinds of dangers and he refused to take any benediction. He refused. "The devotee should not be a mercantile man: 'If you give me something, then I shall give you something.' That is business. A devotee is not like that. He understands that he is eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, his duty is to serve Kṛṣṇa."
"In the material world a servant works when money is paid, wages. A devotee is not like that. A devotee serves Kṛṣṇa out of duty. That is God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that 'It is my duty.' And then Kṛṣṇa takes the responsibility, 'It is My duty to protect this devotee.' This reciprocation is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no question of business transaction. Then he will be protected. "Kṛṣṇa is nobody's servant, but everyone is Kṛṣṇa's servant. If everyone becomes Kṛṣṇa's servant, then everyone is protected by Kṛṣṇa." "Kṛṣṇa is protecting. Kṛṣṇa is God, so He is protecting everyone, He is giving food everyone, but especially inclined to the devotees. Samaḥ sarveṣu-bhūteṣu. So try to become devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
"Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching this philosophy. We have got so many books. Whoever comes here must read the books, devotee, the inmates of the temple, outsider, then you will understand what is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Or you should chant Hare Kṛṣṇa only. Don't talk rubbish things, waste time. That is not good. A single moment is so valuable that you cannot purchase it by millions of dollars. Now today is 25th May, four o'clock gone. You cannot bring it back. Four o'clock, 25th May, 1975, if you want to get it back again by paying millions of dollars, it will not be possible. Therefore we should be very careful of our time. Time once wasted, you cannot get it back return. Better utilize this time. The best utilization is to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa or think of Kṛṣṇa, worship Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Thank you very much." (end) (Srila Prabhupada Lecture delivered 25 May 1975, Honolulu.
Full lecture with text and sound is here)
What other instructions are required, Prabhus? Everything has been very plainly said right here in this very talk. There is no need for any extraneous effort to learn mysticism when the Supreme Lord—Yogeshwara—is protecting the devotee. There is no need to become a mercantile man by using Srila Prabhupada's temples for personal business and profit. Anyone who claims to be a devotee yet violates these simple instructions is either daft, or he is a member of a willfully devious cabal of conspirators who are out to destroy the very foundations of ISKCON from the inside.
[PADA: OK but we need to know first of all, who is going to be the guru and thus the authority of the society? And unless we make that clear, then all these deviations will continue and get worse. ys pd]