Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Krishna Dharma Opens Floodgates: Many More Gurus! (Dandavats)

By Krishna dharma das

With the current furor surrounding the vexed issue of whether ladies should be allowed to give initiation, I thought it might be a good time to resurrect a few arguments I raised around 25 years ago in a paper entitled ‘Do we need a guru approval system?’ Some of you may recall that, I think it’s still languishing here on Dandavats. 

In that paper I argued that there were no compelling reasons why ISKCON needs to approve gurus, neither from the sastric nor managerial points of view. At the time I was considered by many devotees to be borderline insane for making such an outlandish proposal. ‘How could you even think of such a thing? We would be overrun by charlatans, upstarts and chancers of every complexion.’ This was the gist of the main objections, centred around the perfectly reasonable proposition that the GBC must oversee standards, although there were a few other demurrals along other lines such as gurus must be personally authorised by a higher authority. 

Not everyone disagreed though, and some of the thoughts I expressed have gained traction even within the GBC, with their concerns over the so called ‘parallel lines of authority.’ In light of the problems I began by mentioning, which I see as directly springing from the mistaken idea that the GBC must appoint (approve) gurus, I would like to revisit my ideas and try to address some of the objections I have so often heard. 

If your initial visceral response to my thoughts resembles the above, namely that Krishna dharma has lost his mind, poor fellow, then I only ask that you please try to bracket those feelings and carefully consider the reasoning I offer. It requires a little ‘out of the box’ thinking, as in essence I am asking that you try to envision a hypothetical situation where there are no institutional controls over initiations, and thus the problems I perceive as being caused by those very controls will not exist.

[PADA: This idea does not make much sense? For example Hansadutta has been a "guru" -- because a bunch of people including the ISKCON GBC made him one. And then he is out there shooting in downtown Berkeley with four large calibre guns at occupied buildings. 

And Hansadutta is then arrested carrying $15,000 in cash and there are open alcohol containers in the car, and then the story gets into all the newspapers. 

Yet Krishna dharma insists that our problems with all these gurus will only affect the guru and the disciples, and not the millions of people who read about these type scandals in the newspapers? I don't understand how these problems do not affect the mission, and the ISKCON devotees who allegedly had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees / repair fees / to keep Hansadutta out of jail, or the congregation people who have had to pay for the $400M Windle Turley lawsuit, or the people who had to pay for the GBC vs Bangalore lawsuit and so on and so forth. Of course all these people are affected, and so is the image of the mission.

You mean to tell us -- anyone can now claim to be an ISKCON guru, and open the flood gates of having more and more "parampara members" for the already badly situated process of having out of control maverick people doing what they please in the name of guru? Worse! The problem of "controls" does not seem to exist anywhere here in this proposal, or with the existing GBC process either. Exactly how are we going to "control" people who claim to be talking directly to the supersoul aka Krishna, as diksha gurus? 

These "gurus" act like independent mavericks most of the time, and very little effect is ever done to control or contain their deviations. The problem is really -- under control of their maverick gurus, and not over control. Now we are going to add many more people direct or de facto to the ISKCON guru post, without fixing the original problem of lack of controls already existing. Our company makes cars that are already being safety recalled for starting on fire and having bad brakes, and killing people in the process, so -- lets flood the market with more and more of these same damaged cars?]

Firstly, what does sastra say about selecting a guru? Well, the Hari Bhakti Vilasa (HBV) deals extensively with the qualities of a bona-fide guru, providing a sizeable list of attributes one should look for in his choice of mentor, along with the qualifications of an authentic disciple. This book was compiled by Sanatana Goswami under the direct instructions of Lord Chaitanya, and we find this particular instruction in Chaitanya Charitamrita as follows:

guru-laksaṇa, sisya-laksaṇa, doṅhara parikṣaṇa
sevya — bhagavan, sarva-mantra-vicaraṇa

Your book should describe the characteristics of the bona fide guru and the bona fide disciple. Then, before accepting a spiritual master, one can be assured of the spiritual master’s position. Similarly, the spiritual master can also be assured of the disciple’s position. –CC Madhya Lila 24.330

Here the Lord asks that there be mutual testing of each other’s qualifications by both guru and disciple. No mention is made of a third party being required to oversee either party’s judgment. Nor do we find any such mention anywhere throughout the lengthy purport to that verse. Nor indeed do we find the HBV speaking about the need for third party oversight of either disciple or guru.

[PADA: There is already little to no oversight in the ISKCON guru process. For example, they had been siphoning off money meant to care for the gurukula children, so they could live like jet set Saudi princes. And then, ISKCON had to be sued for $400,000,000 for starving and abusing these kids, because the gurus were walking off with the funds meant for these type projects. This is the result of "no oversight." 

More of this "no oversight" policy will simply lead to more scandals, victims who will attack the society, if not legal problems for the society. And who is going to pay for all these legal problems incurred by the current gurus, or more of these independent maverick gurus if more are added? And if children's money is being used for something else, who is in charge of regulating that now? No one we know of? Right now a woman writes to PADA, she wants to write a complaint to the GBC, but there is no one to write to, they are all compromised.

And what about the CURRENT ISKCON GBC gurus who are STILL now living like Saudi princes, and getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of health care with servants etc. by siphoning off the ISKCON funds. Are they going to simply hand over control of ISKCON's (or their own personal) finances to "anyone who wants to be a guru"? This seems to be dreaming in color. 

These current GBC guru guys worked very hard to have people banned, beaten, sued and / or assassinated so they could usurp these assets. Why would they suddenly relinquish control of ANY of these assets to "anyone who wants to be a guru"? And if there is no method to fund the new wave of gurus, how can the proposed new wave of gurus program continue with no funding for their process? The current GBC who are exploiting the assets, are they going to allow some new wave of gurus to manifest -- which means they will have to surrender some of their assets. That is not going to work.

There has to be a system of control and oversight of the leaders of any institution for legal purposes. If the institution says that the leaders will not be managed, that would violate the articles of incorporation of the charity. The charity has to have a system of checks and balances to make sure it is not overtaken by maverick and potentially lawless leadership individuals (as has happened left, right and center in post 1977 ISKCON).    

Or else, that institution will eventually face government investigations for fraud (like the Syracuse court case); Police and SWAT raids; Child abuse court cases; And many other legal problems -- as has happened to ISKCON with this "no oversight of the guru" process. No institution can be "managed" legally where they say there will be: No oversight over the behavior of their designated gurus or leaders; No oversight over the funds; No oversight over the ownership of the properties; Never mind no oversight over whether the guru is even preaching what ISKCON is supposed to preach. 

Suppose the guru makes a disciple pregnant, and she then sues ISKCON for misrepresenting who is a guru. And then the court is told, its her fault because she accepted the wrong guru. Nope, the society is held accountable for the wrong actions of its gurus. And that is why ISKCON has become a bankrupted shell of an institution, the regular mundane society has held ISKCON accountable and had its police, courts and media take these false gurus to task, since the ISKCON society would not.]

They are both enjoined to make their own judgment. This makes perfect sense, as they are the only persons who will be affected by the initiation. The fact that I or anyone else may not see another person’s choice of guru as being properly qualified is entirely irrelevant. It is only the disciple who will stand or fall by his decision, and only the guru who must take responsibility for the disciple.

[PADA: Its not relevant if the new guru the "new disciple" selects is acting like a deviant or even a criminal? Sorry, criminal activity is relevant to the rest of the mundane society and they won't tolerate it forever. Moreover, why would we hand over controls of the guru selection process of our society to anyone and everyone. Should there not be a council of elders who decides who is a leader / guru and who is not? 

What kind of spiritual society hands over the controls of selecting the society's acharyas to the newest bhaktas who just joined the religion? Some new guy is joining ISKCON after being an alcoholic, and he is put in charge of selecting who is the acharya of the mission. Does this make any sense?] 

I should perhaps add here that there is also no injunction against seeking third party advice, and one may well desire such guidance, but my point is that it is not required. Mere testing by guru and disciple is all that is enjoined.

Let’s look at some common objections on this point. If I in my naivete and lack of sound spiritual judgment happen to choose an outright charlatan as my diksha guru, is that not going to impact on ISKCON? Will we not then have an unqualified individual masquerading as a bona-fide guru within our ranks? And is it not ISKCON’s responsibility to make sure that I am not misled by such rascals?

Okay, firstly, if the guru concerned is not approved by the GBC then he or she has no factual institutional standing. 

[PADA: OK then its not relevant to ISKCON, if its creating spin off competition for ISKCON? We already have many devotees siphoning off from the ISKCON society to other gurus and societies now. So we should encourage more ISKCON people to leave more ISKCON programs and join with other gurus and other outside institutions, which is how ISKCON has already lost tens of thousands of people already, they went off to other gurus and missions. Why do we need to encourage that idea? 

So if we increase the mass exodus to other gurus and programs, how does that help ISKCON? We should have people select a non-ISKCON guru, and have them run off to Sridhara Maharaja, Narayana Maharaja, Prem Prayojana, Jadurani, Siddhaswarupa, Tripurari, Mother Amma, Babajis, Gaudiya Matha et al. That is already going on full tilt, its draining people away from the society in droves and its making ISKCON into a ghost town. We need to -- increase that process? So we need MORE gurus who are NOT part of the institution of ISKCON, ok already going on left, right and center -- people are ALREADY leaving the GBC's gurus and going off to non-ISKCON gurus. People are leaving en masse in fact. How is this the way forward?]  

Their status as guru is only conferred by my acceptance of them as such. No one else need see them in the same light, and again, no one else need be personally affected by my choice. Without GBC backing my guru will have no institutional influence; such power derives only from having a post within the society that lies within the lines of managerial accountability.

[PADA: Right, because my guru will be part of another institution and not ISKCON, so lets drain away the few people remaining off shore to other guru programs. This guy wants to put the final nail in ISKCON's coffin. Lets start even more and more guru off shoot programs that are not even part of ISKCON, and make even more competition for ISKCON. Never mind the GBC spawned huge "off shoot" guru programs already that has drained away thousands of ISKCON citizens.]

And here is the answer to the concern that someone might wreak havoc in the society. We have managerial mechanisms for dealing with such issues. If a person is found to be causing problems, guru or otherwise, then the appropriate managerial steps can be taken. 

[PADA: He is not going to be part of ISKCON, so ISKCON rules will not apply to him. At the same time, where is the management when the already existing ISKCON gurus deviate?]

In any event, when does it matter if my guru is qualified or not? I can think of a few instances—deity worship, giving class, accepting a post in ISKCON maybe—that kind of thing. All such instances are dealt with locally by temple management, who will use their own determination and processes to ascertain the bona-fides of an individual. One’s choice of guru may be a factor, but in the situation I envision, where there are no institutional controls, the temple managers can decide for themselves if or not they want to accept the validity of an initiation. 

[PADA: So there will be a bunch of gurus, some of them will be accepted as part of ISKCON, some will not. And the ones who are not will take their flock off shore and start competing societies against ISKCON. That is already going on, which is why thousands of ex-ISKCON people are now residing in the competing programs. Why would we want to increase the exodus? 

And now we are going to have more people who are initiated by fallen people doing the deity worship. Why do we want unqualified people to worship the deity? Of course now the temples are so deteriorated, they have to get Sridhara, Narayana, Hindus or whomever they can to do the pooja, the temples are empty and so they have to get whomever they can recruit.]

They will anyway have to check the references of the individual concerned, and if they wish they can also check those of his or her guru. As it stands, one may well have a fallen guru and still be accepted for any of the above services. That is quite common. 

[PADA: Fallen gurus are quite common?, except Srila Prabhupada says there is no such thing as a fallen guru. If he is fallen, he never was a guru. So now we are going to standardize the idea that acharyas are commonly fallen deviants, in fact its quite common that God's successors are deviants.]

Or conversely one may be initiated by Srila Prabhupada but not be accepted for the service, for a whole host of other reasons. It is the qualification of the individual that matters, not so much that of his or her guru. The qualification of a person’s guru is really only a concern when one is seeking initiation from that person; when we want to be sure that he or she is rightly situated in the parampara. And that is part of the testing process the disciple must undertake.

The problem of institutional influence is created when the guru is given institutional backing, i.e. approval. Then, if by some misfortune the guru goes go awry, the institution has a major problem on its hands. 

[PADA: So we certified bad used cars but tried to regulate that, but now we should simply allow anyone to sell used cars with no regulations. That will make used car dealers even more suspect ... and its a self evident cop out. We did not regulate our used car business well and got sued, so now we will not have any regulations. And we are going to offer bhogha to fallen people, because its the quality of the person making the offering and not the quality of the person its being offered to. This makes no sense? If there is a good person he is not going to want to offer bhogha to falling down people.]

It must rescind its approval and somehow inform the disciples that their guru maharaja lord and master has gone off the rails, even though they previously gave him their imprimatur. How on earth are they supposed to monitor the situation anyway, ensuring that all their officially endorsed gurus are staying on the straight and narrow? 

[PADA: They were never authorized to rubber stamp conditioned souls as acharyas in the first place. They were supposed to act as regulated agents, or priests, or ritviks, and have the church council monitor the priest.]

Subtle deviations can so easily creep in and are not always so easy to spot. To be frank, I have seen and heard some extremely dubious things from approved gurus, but so often the tendency of disciples is to almost blindly accept everything, because after all the GBC has given the stamp of approval. But returning to my point, if there is no institutional authorisation there is no need for them to monitor the gurus, because the only persons who need be concerned are those accepting the guru as their guide. And hopefully they will keep at least a part of their intelligence awake to the possibility that anyone can fall victim to maya.

[PADA: OK so we have to offer bhogha to the guru, he may be fallen and he may not be, so how are we going to even get people to eat prasadam if they are not even told who to offer the bhogha to? This is the problem we have with Hanuman Croatia ilk. We cannot offer bhogha and disciples to the pure devotee, but Hanuman has no idea who should get these offerings? Does he think we can offer bhogha and disciples to Santa Claus, or whom, he never says. Of course Hanuman promotes ISKCON's Sridhara swami, the "jolly guru" who was laughing as his victims were being banned, beaten, molested, sued and killed. That's the time to start comedy hour jokes and laughing?]

Of course, the GBC are charged with overseeing spiritual standards, but what does that entail? As I understand it, they must first ensure that all projects affiliated with ISKCON are properly following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in alignment with the siddhanta he taught. There should not be any bogus philosophy espoused or evinced in any centre. 

[PADA: There is no instruction to rubber stamp ISKCON gurus, or to allow non-ISKCON gurus from other programs to participate in ISKCON.]

Fine, but how does approving gurus do anything to assist in this regard? Again, local authorities will monitor their own situations, and whether an individual is approved as guru or not is irrelevant. The quality of one’s katha or preaching is what matters, and in fact local authorities need to be more on their guard when officially approved gurus are around, as they are taken much more seriously than anyone else. More about that shortly. Without mentioning names, I know of temples that have blacklisted certain approved gurus for fear of their influence.

[PADA: OK so a person is preaching that gurus are often debauchees, or that it is common that acharyas are deviating, and that is "high quality katha"? Nope. Srila Prabhupada says anyone who preaches that acharyas are deviants is a resident of naraka, and they are already residing there. There is no good quality katha in preaching from the hellish planets. What kind of word jugglery is this, people who reside on naraka planets are "preaching good katha"?]

How about the danger of devotees being misled? Should the GBC not be there to protect them? Yes, of course, but again what does that entail? Do they not do this by ensuring that temples are not succumbing to the influence of false doctrines, by making sure that the temple leaders are preaching and teaching correctly? So how does approving gurus make any difference? Everyone, approved or otherwise, siksha or diksha guru, must be subject to the same scrutiny at the point of action. Again, giving a person the official stamp of approval exacerbates this problem as he is then elevated to a position of high esteem.

And as far as misleading individuals is concerned, there are so many corrupting influences that we might be exposed to every day. Asat-sanga abounds everywhere, and it is for us to ensure that we are properly hearing and chanting in order to protect our intelligence. Indeed, the best and perhaps only real protection an authority can give is to offer sufficient and proper training in how to take shelter of our philosophy. Should we not be showing devotees how to think for themselves, rather than telling them what they should think, and then trying to control them with legislation? Srila Prabhupada comments on this in connection with governmental leadership in Srimad Bhagavatam:

“Simply enforcing laws and ordinances cannot make the citizens obedient and lawful. That is impossible. Throughout the entire world there are so many states, legislative assemblies and parliaments, but still the citizens are rogues and thieves. Good citizenship, therefore, cannot be enforced; the citizens must be trained.” – SB 9.10.50 purport.

People are always free to do what they choose. You cannot control those choices, not even Krishna does that, he gives us that much freedom. We can restrict our freedom by foolish choices, but such restriction is merely the natural consequences of our misusing our liberty. 

[PADA: OK so if there is freedom to accept non-ISKCON gurus as gurus for ISKCON people, there will soon be no ISKCON at all. Everyone will be part of the non-ISKCON guru program, which is already taking tens of thousands of people away from ISKCON as we speak.]

It therefore behoves leaders to ensure that those in their care are properly educated so that they can make informed choices. I would argue that the very fact that the GBC does not wholly trust the discrimination of devotees to make their own free choice of guru indicates a weakness in our education. It seems to me that the assumption underlying the guru approval process is that devotees, no matter how long they have been practising, are not capable of making an independent decision on who should be their guru.

[PADA: Anyone who accepts Srila Prabhupada as their guru is often banned, maybe beaten, sued, and even assassinated. There is no freedom to chose Srila Prabhupada as ones guru. This is a myth.]

Gurus also cannot make an independent decision about who can be their disciples. On both sides there is oversight, even though these are highly subjective decisions, and despite the fact that sastra, as shown above, fully devolves the responsibility of choice to the parties involved. 

[PADA: OK we are not going to have oversight, but we are not going to allow the gurus to act independently. Makes no sense.] 

And, to make it even more questionable, the GBC themselves make an official disclaimer in their guru law book that their approval does not guarantee anything. One must still use his own discrimination.

[PADA: Also false, many people have rejected their GBC guru and they wanted to worship Srila Prabhupada and then they were banned, they were not allowed to use their own choice. We hear from these type people all day every day.]

It could be argued that devotees are indeed free to choose who they like. The only requirement is that one’s choice must be scrutinised by ISKCON authority and duly approved, and even that is only if you want to work within the institution. However, this has numerous drawbacks. Firstly, as I suggest above, it contravenes sastra. 

Secondly, it effectively creates a class of diksha gurus who are viewed as something quite apart from everyone else. What we generally observe is that devotees will select someone from the list of approved gurus, even though they may have had little or no contact with that person and may well have scant dealings with them even after taking initiation. 

[PADA: Yes, Swarupa Damodar, later on Narayana Maharaja, their followers were initiated here but there was little to no ongoing follow up. So there was some pot smoking, lesbian marriages, and who knows what else. There was no actual ongoing guidance, that was a myth.] 

As far as testing goes, because the guru is already approved and has many disciples, we see that most often there is hardly any serious examination in terms of sastric guidance. Thirdly, those who are not approved, even though they may have done all the hard work of making and nurturing a devotee, will likely be marginalised as less significant (after all, there must be some reason why they are not authorised, right?) and then left aside as that devotee chooses someone else as their life and soul.

We now have tens of thousands of devotees in our society. Many of them have been serious practitioners for decades and are quite capable of giving siksha to younger devotees, and in many cases are doing just that. Ultimately, it is siksha that is most important, ours is a siksha line, diksha itself has no real value if the disciple does not accept siksha, so why are we making artificial distinctions between siksha and diksha? Okay, their dealings are different, but of siksha guru sastra says in Caitanya Caritamrita:

One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krishna. Lord Krishna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord. –CC Adi Lila 1.47,

And in the purport to that verse:

There is no difference between the shelter-giving Supreme Lord and the initiating and instructing spiritual masters. If one foolishly discriminates between them, he commits an offense in the discharge of devotional service.

Srila Prabhupada further says in Srimad Bhagavatam:

According to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksha-guru and diksha-guru, and generally the siksha-guru later on becomes the diksha-guru. –SB 4.12.32

This hardly ever happens in our society now. 

[PADA: Its worse than that, the senior devotees were for the most part purged out and then replaced with low-lifes, criminals, molesters, women abusers, deviants, and so forth. That is still going on to some extent evidently, which is why we hear reports of property scams, kicking people out, death threats and so forth still manifesting from the criminal elements.]

Although the ‘no-objection’ system is meant to make it easy for devotees to take up the role of diksha guru, it just isn’t happening. There are only 80 or so approved gurus, a number that has hardly changed in the last twenty years or so. Hence the current approved gurus take on more and more disciples that they have little chance of ever actually guiding, hence we see the creation of imaginative ideas like mentor systems where the mentors who actually do the guidance don’t require GBC approval. Which sort of defeats the object a bit, I would suggest.

Actually, Srila Prabhupada wanted millions of gurus:

So try to follow the path of acharya process. Then life will be successful. And to become acharya is not very difficult. First of all, to become very faithful servant of your acharya, follow strictly what he says. Try to please him and spread Krishna consciousness. That’s all. It is not at all difficult. Try to follow the instruction of your Guru Mahārāja and spread Krishna consciousness. That is the order of Lord Caitanya.

āmāra ajñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa
yāre dekha tāre kaha krishna upadesa

(CC Madhya 7.128)

“By following My order, you become guru.” And if we strictly follow the acharya system and try our best to spread the instruction of Krishna… Yare dekha tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa (CC Madhya 7.128). There are two kinds of krisha-upadesa. Upadesa means instruction. Instruction given by Krishna, that is also ‘krishna’-upadesa, and instruction received about Krishna, that is also krishna upadesa. Krishnasya upadesa iti Krishna upadesa. Samasa, sasti-tat-puruṣa-samasa. And Krishna viṣaya upadesa, that is also Krishna upadesa. Bahu-vrihi-samasa. 

This is the way of analyzing Sanskrit grammar. So Krishna’s upadesa is Bhagavad-gītā. He’s directly giving instruction. So one who is spreading krishna upadesa, simply repeat what is said by Krishna, then you become acharya. Not difficult at all. Everything is stated there. We have to simply repeat like parrot. Not exactly parrot. Parrot does not understand the meaning; he simply vibrates. But you should understand the meaning also; otherwise how you can explain? So, so we want to spread Krishna consciousness. Simply prepare yourself how to repeat Krishna’s instructions very nicely, without any malinterpretation. Then, in future… Suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to ten million.

Devotees: Haribol! Jaya!

Prabhupāda: So there will be no scarcity of ācārya, and people will understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness very easily. So make that organization. Don’t be falsely puffed up. Follow the ācārya’s instruction and try to make yourself perfect, mature. Then it will be very easy to fight out māyā. Yes. Ācāryas, they declare war against māyā’s activities. –Lecture on CC Adi-lila 1.13 — Mayapur, April 6, 1975.

Here also Srila Prabhupada addresses the question of authorisation. It is not that you must be given a personal order. That was not done in Srila Prabhupada’s case, certainly no public declaration was made, nor in the case of his guru, or his grand guru before that, and so on. As we see from the above, the order is already there, and it simply behoves the disciple to take up that order and become authorised by strictly following the authority. 

Even if we are approved or officially authorised, if we do not properly follow we lose our so called authority. Again, it is for the disciple to examine the guru to ensure that he or she is indeed authorised by their strict adherence to the parampara.

Srila Prabhupada wrote to one disciple:

Keep trained up very rigidly and then you are bona fide Guru, and you can accept disciples on the same principle. But as a matter of etiquette it is the custom that during the lifetime of your Spiritual master you bring the prospective disciples to him, and in his absence or disappearance you can accept disciples without any limitation. This is the law of disciplic succession. I want to see my disciples become bona fide Spiritual Master and spread Krishna consciousness very widely, that will make me and Krishna very happy. –Srila 

Prabhupada Letter: Tusta Krsna —2 December, 1975

And even if we want to have a standard such as Bhaktivedanta Degrees for devotees acting as guru (which is not now the case, of course), there is still no need for approvals by the GBC. All they would need to do is state that one’s diksha initiation will not be accepted as valid unless the guru has passed XYZ exam. Disciples could then make their own decision about whether or not they wish to accept a person who has not passed that exam.

As far as I can see by approving diksha gurus we simply create problems, such as the Vaishnavi diksha guru issue. If the GBC stopped approving gurus that issue would vanish. It would then be down to individuals to decide if they want to select a Vaishnavi as their guru, and the society can decide at the point of application if or not they want to recognise the validity of those initiations. 

No one else need be bothered. 

[PADA: The society itself is tightly controlled by the existing gurus, and they will not allow any serious competition for the assets of the mission.]

After all, who is anyone to say that another person’s choice of guru is wrong? And if it is, so what? It’s not affecting them in any way, unless they choose to get bothered about it. Similarly, ritvik, another disturbing controversy that would very likely vanish if approvals stopped. 

[PADA: What you are suggesting is largely the ritvik idea. No more guru by rubber stamp, and make this a shiksha mainly (priests or ritviks) process. And then there will be no need to monitor conditioned soul acharyas, because none will be allowed.]

At least the GBC would no longer be subject to calumny from ritvik followers, who would be left having to direct their disapproval toward individual devotees for taking diksha from gurus that they, the ritviks, consider unqualified. 

[PADA: Nope, Prithu made a video denouncing Hrdayananda. Bhakti Vikas swami regularly attacks the other GBC gurus. Basu Ghosh just blasted the GBC gurus. Various GBC don't approve of Radhanath. Some GBC folks say they will sue the other GBC if they make women gurus. Abhiram just now said the GBC gurus are defective and raja guna. The GBC folks themselves are saying their gurus are not authorized, we agree.] 

And again, who are they to make such judgments? It’s really none of their business. In fact, the HBV even says that one should keep his mantra and his guru secret. 

[PADA: No, Srila Prabhupada says a person who does not name their guru is a mayavada. Wow, now Dandavats is openly promoting mayavada?] 

If we observed that protocol instead of having grand diksha ceremonies in temples, guru acronyms appended to one’s name, the term ‘ISKCON guru’ widely used in our public propaganda, etc, then the criticism would pretty much dry up. But if the GBC insist on approving gurus and we continue with our present culture then the problems will never go away, as far as I can see.

Without official ratification gurus will be nothing more than guides for as many persons as he or she can influence by his or her association. Okay, there may still be the occasional dubious charismatic who attracts numerous followers, but again if this is posing any problem then the managerial mechanisms are there. And if the society’s leaders take seriously their responsibility to teach and train devotees, then there will be much less chance that false and cheating gurus will flourish (not that it hasn’t happened anyway, even with the approvals).

I would like to end with a couple more quotes from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of sastric training, which I think is critical:

So especially you (leaders) must encourage the students to read our books throughout the day as much as possible, and give them all good advice how to understand the books, and inspire them to study the things from every point of view. In this way, by constantly engaging our tongues in the service of the Lord, either by discussing His philosophy or by chanting Hare Krishna, the truth is that Krishna Himself will reveal Himself to us and we shall understand how to do everything properly. 

Now we have got so many students and so many temples but I am fearful that if we expand too much in this way we shall become weakened and gradually the whole thing will become lost. Just like milk. We may thin it more and more with water for cheating the customer, but in the end it will cease to be any longer milk. Better to boil the milk now very vigorously and make it thick and sweet, that is the best process. So let us concentrate on training our devotees very thoroughly in the knowledge of Krishna consciousness from our books, from tapes, by discussing always, and in so many ways instruct them in the right propositions.” (SPL to Hamsaduta, 22nd June, 1972)

You mention you like to speak now very often, but the first business should be to preach to the devotees. It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees. It is the duty of the GBC to maintain the devotees, keep them in the highest standard of Krishna Consciousness, and give them all good instruction, and let them go out and preach for making more devotees. Your first job should be to make sure that every one of the devotees in your zone of management is reading regularly our literatures and discussing the subject matter seriously from different angles of seeing, and that they are somehow or other absorbing the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness philosophy. 

If they are fully educated in our philosophy and if they can get all of the knowledge and study it from every viewpoint, then very easily they will perform tapasya or renunciation and that will be their advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So first thing is to instruct all of your temple presidents and the other devotees to read daily, just as we have done in our morning class in Los Angeles. You may remember that we were reading one sloka each morning in Sanskrit and reciting it altogether and then discussing it thoroughly by seeing different new things. So you introduce this system and train the devotees first. Don’t be too much concerned for the time being with nondevotees, now we must fix-up what devotees we have got in the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness, then we will succeed. What good are many, many devotees if none of them are knowledgeable? -Letter to: Satsvarupa — Los Angeles 16 June, 1972

Your aspiring servant

Krishna dharma das

[PADA: So now we should have a new set of gurus who are not approved by the GBC and who are not even part of ISKCON. OK that is already going on, the Gaudiya Matha gurus are siphoning people away left, right and center. 

Is this not what happened in the Gaudiya Matha? The first wave of bogus gurus crashed on the beach, so another man comes, then another, then another ... and in this way their policy was to kill guru and become guru themselves. And Krishna dharma wants to open to flood gates to duplicate their failed policy?

We should have gurus that are not being given oversight, except the temple presidents will give them oversight. What?

We should have a shiksha guru system, which is what the ritviks propose, but they are deviants. We should allow people to claim they have the same capacity as Jesus, they can absorb sins as diksha gurus, but we should not take care to make sure they have this capacity. OK we are going to cheat people that their sins are being absorbed, knowing they are not being absorbed. Why not just make Srila Prabhupada the acharya and have the rest of us acting as his shiksha agents (the ritvik idea)? Then the GBC can act as a church council and monitor the priests, which is what was supposed to happen all along. ys pd] 


  1. HD: If you are already totally sick from making and over eating too many sweets, you should not be making and over eating another batch of sweets.

    PADA: Well yup!

  2. Krishna Dharma (to Pratyatosa Das) Yes, they are surely not going to relinquish control any time in our lifetime.

    PADA: Yes, a senior ex-gurukuli told me the reason he was being fed rotten green moldy oatmeal, and he had no proper blankets and he was always freezing is: the ISKCON leaders have been using the money meant to care for us gurukulis to buy themselves a Cadillac, an opulent private residence, and have ten servants making them a 20 course feast every day. He said, the GBC has followed the North Korea managing model, the leaders are fat and opulent, us peons have to eat grass and dried weeds. Same identical management. I agree. Of course he was one of the people who testified at the child molesting lawsuit, which is why the GBC pleaded "no contest." They could not disagree with this assessment. ys pd

  3. Krishna Dharma: There's some crazy stuff gone down alright.

    PADA: It appears as crazy, but all of this requires a lot of super calculated machinations and manipulation to happen as it does. Hansadutta told me in December 1977 they all sat down together and held secret meetings planning how to announce their guru appointment. And it was decided then that questioning people like me would need to get the boot right away for asking questions. "Velvet glove, iron fist." Satsvarupa was making pretend he was one of the dissenters so they could mock debate to hone in their arguments against us. Ramesvara and Bhagavan wanted to leave the meeting right away but Satsvarupa said, no, we need to all have our story straight or this will unravel quickly. Tamal was at the meeting and he had been handing out the book "The Prince" by Machiavelli for them to study. It worked pretty good, ... for awhile. ys pd

  4. GD: Dear PADA: Good news is that there is now disagreement, dissension, within the deep-state management. Otherwise they would not have published Krishna Dharma's article on Dandavats. He's one of them. They realize now that actually they are responsible when "gurus" fall down or deviate. The fine-print to be signed when new devotees become initiated says, "...accepting one of our gurus is at the disciple's own risk. In case of damage the GBC is not legally liable". Now this seems not to work anymore. In any case, it seems they do want new disciples. Just using the properties and buildings to create passive income, cash-flow. Farms are considered as liability, temples in India as assets. So they invest in assets. Prabhupada: "Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to become guru, and a small temple and "guru." What kind of guru? No publication, no preaching, simply bring some foodstuff... ". This is now the next era, everywhere gurus? Already they have "gurus" who cannot make disciples because new devotees mainly link up with the elite gurus who have a large following. After Prabhupada’s departure, the GBC continued to manage ISKCON and no-one tried to establish a single acarya. Yet, the division of the Society into private initiating zones, the installation of the exclusive vyasasana and the ritual elevation of the gurus far above their own god-brothers, had implicitly established eleven institutional "acaryas", each bearing the same relationship to his zone as Prabhupada had borne to the entire movement. So the zonal acharya system was not stopped. Prabhupada: "Suppose we are in a group, this, our International Society. If everyone becomes ruler or acarya, then how it can be managed? No."

    [PADA: Yes, they used this argument all along. You followed Hansadutta, Jayatirtha, Harikesh, Kirtanananda, Bhagavan, and later on Bhakti Tirtha, Ravindra, Prithu etc. because you did not study who is a guru from shastra. OK but the ISKCON society has been publicly advertising these people as its gurus, so the society suffers when these gurus deviate because they are acting as the official representatives of the society. Hansadutta is not shooting at buildings as the representative of a few fools who accepted him as guru, he is acting as the official head representation of the entire ISKCON society as its main leader and worshiped saint. We cannot say that some few people were fooled into making him a guru, so the society is not implicated, because the society is the entity promoting these people as its saints. Anyway, yes its a melt down. How many people want to accept a guru who is not even being properly vetted, scrutinized and examined by the elders of that society? It makes the whole thing look foolish, which is why Jayadvaita says ISKCON is now guru "buyer beware," same motto as the sleazy used car dealers. That will never work as the motto for a religion and its gurus. ys pd

  5. Krishna Dharma There's some crazy stuff gone down alright.

    PADA: It appears as crazy, but all of this requires a lot of super calculated machinations and manipulation to happen as it does. Hansadutta told me in December 1977 they all sat down together and held secret meetings planning how to announce their guru appointment. And it was decided then that questioning people like me would need to get the boot right away for asking questions. "Velvet glove, iron fist." Satsvarupa was making pretend he was one of the dissenters so they could mock debate to hone in their arguments against us. Ramesvara and Bhagavan wanted to leave the meeting right away but Satsvarupa said, no, we need to all have our story straight or this will unravel quickly. Tamal was at the meeting and he had been handing out the book "The Prince" by Machiavelli for them to study. It worked pretty good, ... for awhile. ys pd

  6. LD: The temptation is there when nowadays devotees are given salaries which has contaminated the whole thing. Salaries that cost quite a bit of the income and is against Srila Prabhupada's instructions. Millionaire sannyasis etc. IT's GONE. The mission drift became a full motoring out to sea. Hare Krishna.

    [PADA: Yes, Nandini told me that Mukunda swami was tossing our letters from suffering victims being sent to his ISKCON World Review. He wanted to cover up the crimes and he told her "I have a career to protect."

    Trivrikrama swami also told a devotee "this is my career." So its a lot about control of the money and assets, and has been all along. There is no real philosophical point here, its all about the money. And as the resources pie gets smaller and smaller, that is why they are now fighting more and more among themselves. A Bengali cook was hired by a temple to cook in the USA, but as soon as he got his green card he was gone and he got "a karmi cook job." He was here mainly for the money and not to serve Krishna. ys pd]

  7. RRD: It really is time to drop out from the herds running after ISKCON. It's clear they are as lost as the modern Christians. It's gaining momentum, more and more are starting to believe what was once considered a conspiracy is actually transpiring. It's like being caught up in a scam, some get caught outright and some are alerted and pull out before it's all over. It was just a matter of time before this exposed as a major scam, now it's on a downward spiral. Everything is spoilt, except those who stick to Prabhupada only.

    [PADA: Yup!]


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