Society Consciousness is at the Forefront (07/24/04)
Dear Y_____ and D______ Dāsī,
Just after sending you my first reply I realised that I had evaded your question. If I have made such a statement as “R______ Swami is not in harmony with the proper concept of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism as preached by our Guardians” then I must surely demonstrate how that is so. It would not be dignified or honest of me simply to avoid your question.
I also realised that this is not a statement that only concerns H.H. R______ Swami. As far as many of us are concerned my statement applies to all ISKCON gurus. Had K___ chosen any guru from ISKCON I would have made the same statement.
I wish to establish a simple fact before I begin. In ISKCON the GBC is the ultimate authority in all matters of the society. Whatever policy the GBC decides, the gurus are dutybound to accept. To preach otherwise constitutes an act of heresy in ISKCON for which one can be strongly chastised and even excommunicated. That is basically “ISKCON Law” and this is upheld and supported by all ISKCON gurus.
There are numerous misconceptions at present promoted by the GBC and dittoed by the ISKCON gurus. But before mentioning a few of the important ones, I would like to point out that according to “Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism as preached by our Guardians” the guru (bona-fide guru) is an autocrat. Autocrat means that he is the direct representative of Kṛṣṇa and he does not come under any other rule except the will of Kṛṣṇa. Anything short of that puts the guru in the category of being an institutional guru or basically not a guru at all. That may be a hard lump to swallow, but that is the unfortunate situation that develops when ‘society consciousness” is put before “God consciousness”.
Someone may ask what difference does it make if the guru is an autocrat or not? What is the problem if there is another authority higher than the guru? The problem is twofold. One is that in order for the guru to do his duty properly, he must be in the plane where he is connecting to the flow of the Absolute Truth and not dittoing the misconceptions of others. The guru must always side with the Absolute and not with any relative consideration. Putting the relative consideration aside he must always follow the will of the Supreme. The guru should always give preference to God consciousness and to society consciousness second. That was also Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja’s direct instruction to the GBC some twenty years ago but they have not followed that.
Second the śraddhā of a disciple does not mature when the guru is put under scrutiny by a third party. This alerts the disciple to be cautious, caution leads to suspicion about ones guru and suspicion leads to suspension - suspension of one’s śraddhā. Without the proper development of śraddhā it is not possible to develop love of God. That is the conception given to us by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja.
It is a fact that many second generation devotees in ISKCON, and even Prabhupāda disciples, have felt the absence of the shelter of a strong guru figure in ISKCON and so they have looked for shelter (āśraya) elsewhere. You may find about 1000 of them now taking shelter of H.H. X____ Mahārāja who has a much better and deeper understanding of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism than the rest of ISKCON put together. The proof of that statement is that not even one ISKCON guru is willing or capable of standing up to X____ Mahārāja and his followers. Whatever they have said to defeat him, he and his followers have simply destroyed.
Under the present guru system in ISKCON all the gurus are acting as covered ṛtviks in the same way that Śaṅkarācārya was a covered Buddhist. Śaṅkara was a covered Buddhist because he did not actually preach theism. In the same way, ISKCON gurus are covered ṛtviks because they do not preach the pure siddhānta of guru-tattva.
Here are some of the prominent misconceptions preached by the GBC and gurus of ISKCON. I will mention just a few of them here.
1) “The jiva falls from the lila of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka or Vaikuṇṭha.”
This misconception is preached by the ISKCON gurus as fact when there is actually no evidence from śāstra or previous ācāryas to support their view. The only evidence that they have is their own concoction of a book called “Our Original Position” which is filled with misconceptions on every page.
In recent times Śrīla PurI Mahārāja and Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja have emphatically stated that the jīva does not fall from the Lord’s līlā. To this day I know of only one or two of the ISKCON gurus who have the right conception of the fall of the jīvā, but they are too timid to express the truth for fear of chastisement. They side with the consideration of ‘society’ and not with that of Kṛṣṇa.
2) Śikṣā-guru can only appear in ISKCON
The GBC instructed HH S____ Swami to write a book called “Śikṣā-Guru in ISKCON” as an atonement of his heresy of having heard from X____ Mahārāja. The book supports the GBC version that a śikṣā-guru can only appear in ISKCON. The book is the biggest misrepresentation of the truth since the printing of the King James version of the Bible. The book “Śikṣā-Guru in ISKCON” is a well done work of distortions of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism but it is supported by ISKCON GBC and gurus.
3) Śrīla Prabhupāda is the ācārya for all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in Kali-yuga
It is the conclusion of the ISKCON GBC and gurus that Śrīla Prabhupāda is the ācārya for the Golden Age of Kali-yuga and that all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas must recognise this fact. The ISKCON GBC and gurus have unfortunately overlooked the fact that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is the Gauḍīya Vaiāṇava ācārya in Mahāprabhu’s movement for all time, both in this world and in Goloka Vṛndāvana. In preaching that Śrīla Prabhupāda is the yugācārya, a great disservice is being done to the followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when in fact Śrīla Prabhupāda is himself a follower of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī – a rūpānuga.
4) Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted, and ISKCON is building, the Adbhūta Mandira as predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
It is the misconception of ISKCON GBC and gurus that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s “Temple of Understanding” in Māyāpura is to be the “Adbhūta Mandira” as predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. The GBC and gurus have turned a blind eye to that fact that the prediction mentioned here has already been fulfilled by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta by the construction of the beautiful temple at Lord Caitanya’s birthplace. ISKCON also overlooks the fact that the idea to build the “Temple of Understanding” was the idea of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja and that Śrīla Prabhupāda desired that he would build the Temple of Understanding under the direction of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja.
The misconceptions preached by ISKCON GBC and guru does not stop with this shortlist. Unfortunately society consciousness is at the forefront of the ISKCON agenda and thus it is difficult to find a person in ISKCON with the proper conception of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, especially among the gurus and GBC.
Proper conception is everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and this is given much emphasis by our Guardians, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja and Śrīla Purī Mahārāja. So for this reason I have stated that “R______ Swami is not in harmony with the proper concept of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism as preached by our Guardians”
I hope this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha