Radhanathardation: Opportunistic Nuevo ISKCON

BY: GOPINATH DASA

Sep 22, 2012 — ITALY (SUN) — For many years now I have been observing ISKCON leaders and their unhealthy protocols and programs that are implemented when it comes to dealing with issues pertaining to their questionable managerial/philosophical outlooks, and consequent problems that arise from their unwillingness to enter a dialogue with the devotees who are expressing their concerns based on Guru, Sadhu and Sastra.

The latest (not first and certainly not the last) victim by the hands of North American GBC is H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami and his vocal expressions of relevant concerns in regards to certain dangerous managerial/philosophical issues and the practical applications that are permeating ISKCON strata today… in the name of so-called preaching. (Excuse used, kala, desh, patra)

Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaja has spoken on different occasions in regards to these misconceptions and the consequent changes these ideologies create -- as he calls it, ‘mission drift'. Maharaja was always looking and analyzing them through the eyes of sastra and more importantly, via teachings/instructions (words) of our Acharya, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada on this particular matter. Yet the GBC branded him as an offender of the devotees, GBC and ISKCON, as evidenced in the letter below written by NA GBC Tamohara dasa:

    Letter PAMHO:24021005 (17 lines) {I4}
    From: Internet: "tamohara" tamohara@yahoo.com>
    Date: 08-Sep-12 05:41 -0500 (03:41 -0700)
    To: Bhakti Vikasa Swami [164845]
    Cc: Kalakantha (das) ACBSP (Gainesville, FL – US) [116583] (received: 08-Sep-12 09:06 -0500)
    Cc: "Mukhya" mukhyadd@gmail.com>
    Attached: 24021005.eml (4728 bytes) "Original email file"
    Subject: Coming to Florida

    Dear Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja,
    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prahupada.

    There seems to be some confusion regarding your coming to the Alachua/Gainesville area and giving classes. Both the temple presidents of Alachua and Gainesville have told you that they prefer you do not give classes or preach here. This must be, and will be respected. As the GBC of Alachua, I fully support this decision. We feel that your opinions and style of preaching has tended to be disruptive and at times offensive to devotees, the GBC, and ISKCON. Of course, any devotee is always welcome to visit, take darshan of the deities, etc. But, you will NOT be asked to preach, do programs, or give classes. Thus, I would suggest you may want to alter your September schedule.

    Your servant,
    Tamohara das GBC – Southeastern USA
    Vice-Chair GBC Executive Committee
    (Text PAMHO:24021005)
    ————————————–

In his letter, Tamohara prabhu is stating some serious accusations by calling Bhakti Vikasa Swami an offender of devotees, GBC and ISKCON itself, yet providing no evidence of such behavior on Maharaja`s part. However, here are some quotes from Srila Prabhupada on this matter that totally contradict the GBC, Tamohara dasa:

    "Apaisunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life. Hri means that one should be very modest and must not perform some act which is abominable." (Bhagavad-gita 16.1-3)

There are many misconceptions within our ISKCON institution which need to be addressed so that we can better understand the manner in which we as devotees interact with each other. We often hear that we, as aspiring devotees, must never judge or criticize another aspiring devotee and that to judge or to criticize is wrong and offensive. The application of these terms have, however, been intentionally misapplied by the ISKCON leaders and their apologists to indoctrinate their followers to fear to use their common sense to form an opinion on any ISKCON leader, especially any ISKCON guru(s) who are not following the established process of devotional service given to us by Srila Prabhupada.

    "Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth." (Bhagavad-gita 10.4-5)

Since Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaja is only quoting Srila Prabhupada in this matter, it means that certain GBC`s are obviously implying that Srila Prabhupada himself is an offender of the devotees, GBC and ISKCON. Such criticism against Srila Prabhupada started some time back, particularly by the devotees who are influenced by Academia and its populistic contrived brain child, ‘Political Correctness'. Over the years their criticism is becoming stronger as they are becoming more entrenched within the corporate managerial stratum of ISKCON.

These opportunistic academically influenced devotees believe that we need to be more liberal and open to other ideas and visions since if we do, more people will join us, as they would feel comfortable and accepted within the movement. The postulation being that the only importance is ‘love' for Krsna and nothing else really matters, since they are mere details. The term ‘love' is an operative word. What a wonderful idea; as long as you follow four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds you can change everything else, since they are only unimportant details. Because you ‘love' Krsna it is really ok to be what you want to be, do what you want to do, as long as you ‘love' Krsna, it's all good = you are O.K... I'm O.K. (Well I guess in this instance Bhakti Vikasa Swami is not O.K.) …what happened to boiling the milk, I wonder?

Therefore, when a certain faction allegedly returned back to ISKCON with their religiosyncretic ethos, these ‘latitudinarian' devotees jumped on the bandwagon, actively endorsing and promoting these stratagems while simultaneously attacking, minimizing and belittling anyone who is questioning these unauthorized changes within the movement (Srila Prabhupada included).

We used the word allegedly, since we are not convinced that they have indeed returned to ISKCON. The reasons for the doubt is twofold: Firstly, all the projects that are operated by them are not legally registered in ISKCON`s name. Chowpatty, New York sanctuary, Bhaktivedanta Hospice, New Vrindavan, Devamrita Swami`s loft project, etc., are all privately incorporated and independently owned and managed projects. Consequently by maintaining their independence, it is clear that they are only subsidiaries of ISKCON. Hence if they choose, they can split from an ISKCON alliance any time they so desire.

Secondly, since their ‘alleged return' to ISKCON they are continuously preaching in the same interfaith hodge-podge style of spirituality they did while having Kirtanananda at the helm, despite the instructions from Srila Prabhupada saying not to do so. One of the main reasons for their split from ISKCON at the time was exactly that: their own concocted Interfaith preaching. So what has really changed? Anything?

    "Kirtanananda may be eager to address in the Harvard university but recently he has lost his link on account of disobedience. You sing every day morning that by the mercy of the Spiritual master one can please the Lord and one who has not pleased the spiritual master cannot have any access in the realm of Krishna Consciousness. Very recently Kirtanananda has developed a different consciousness of Maya which is called misuse of one's minute independence offered by Krishna. By misuse of one's independence one at once becomes a victim of Maya and thus he loses all importance in Krishna Consciousness. So it is my definite opinion that his lecture anywhere now will bear no spiritual sequence. He must rectify his mistake before he can play in our Society any important role. By lips he says that he is a surrendered soul but by action he is thinking differently." (Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Satsvarupa, October 6, 1967)

Interestingly, the above letter bears the same relevance to Radhanath Swami and his activities/actions today. He is only continuing with the same unauthorized (mayavada/sahajiya) Interfaith style of preaching upon the alleged return to ISKCON, that factually originated by Kirtanananda and his independent faction, and it is not something new and wonderful that was never seen before, as they would like us to believe.

    "By lips he says that he is a surrendered soul but by action he is thinking differently." (Srila Prabhupada's Letter to Satsvarupa, October 6, 1967)

Recently, followers of Radhanath Swami wrote an apologetic rationalization in support of Radhanath's mayavada/sahajiya style of preaching, propounding the logic that previous Acharyas like Jiva Goswami, Vishvanath, Baladeva, Bhaktivinode Takur, Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada adjusted things to preach according to relevant time, place and circumstances, hence Radhanath Swami can do it as well, without establishing the required qualifications (adikara) of the individual who is adjusting things. (In this case, Radhanath Swami.)

Out of that, we can only understand that the writer believes that Radhanath Swami is on the same level of realization and qualifications as the above Maha-bhagavatas, or that anyone can make the changes that they think should be made according to what they perceive is needed at the particular time, place and circumstance. Provided that such individual can plausibly demonstrate that at the end, these are merely details. Both views are equally concerning.

However, having had numerous dealings with Radhanath Swami`s disciples and their arrogance, which lurks behind their external demeanor of false humility, it is the first one, namely that he is a mahabagavata. That, his disciples and followers are fully convinced of, hence whatever Radhanath Swami does or says is divine, therefore automatically irrevocably unquestionable and irreproachable by anyone. If somebody even dares to do that he is automatically labeled an offender. (As we can see how it was done to Bhakti Vikasa Swami in the above letter by GBC Tamohara dasa.)

Following such logic, Lord Shiva is the greatest devotee among all, he drank poison -- does that denote Radhanath Swami should drink it too? Perhaps if he did and was not affected by it, then we would have to take Radhanath Swami and his changes seriously… if not… then…? I have to consider is he imitating or following, that is the question?

In the same paper Radhanath Swami`s followers did provide one irrelevant quote from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita regarding Srila Prabhupada being cordial in dealings with a Mayavada sannyasi who visited him. (Not other way around.)

We do have to posit a question: is it really intelligent and sane to base the whole ‘new' mayavada/sahajiya preaching system on one random (and quite irrelevant) quote from Lilamrita, while at the same time ignoring/rejecting so many quotes originating directly from Srila Prabhupada in his books, lecturers and conversation STRONGLY opposing it?

Even when we are offering our daily prayers to Srila Prabhupada every morning and we sing his prayers, we can see how strongly Srila Prabhupada felt about it.

    nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
    srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
    namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
    nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

    I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter of his lotus feet.

    Our respectful obeisances unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

Here we see that one of the main purposes of Srila Prabhupada is preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism. So why would Radhanath Swami and other like-minded individuals within ISKCON use and encourage impersonalistic views by intimately associating with the mayavadis and using mayavada/sahajjiya in his "preaching", instead of eradicating it?

The fact is that Srila Prabhupada did not want us to water down things just to attract more numbers. Numbers do not equal real success. Sai Baba has great numbers and so does Kripalu Maharaja, does that connote that their followers are receiving sambandha jnana? (Funny, since it was In Kripalu`s ashram that Radhanatha Swami recently attended a kirtan/yoga program. Mind you, they did not come to him or his place, Chowpatty, but he went there.)

What Radhanath Swami inculcated into this movement is not anything new (whether it be principle or detail). Kirtanananda (Radhanath Swami`s sannyasa guru) tried to do exactly the same thing before, and we all know how Srila Prabhupada adjudicated on that matter. Therefore it is a mute discussion.

What is really troublesome and concerning in this matter is that certain latitudinarian devotees refuse to accept Srila Prabhupada`s decision on this matter (and many others) and are continuously pushing this mayavada/sahajiya influenced preaching to go on. Consequently, by their action they are stating that Srila Prabhupada was wrong and they are right, and that they know better!

On that note we would like to provide the following statement by Srila Prabhupada as food for thought:

    Prabhupada: So-called gurus, they are so-called gurus. They are not gurus. That is already explained. If one does not speak what Krsna speaks, he is not guru. If you accept so-called guru, that is your misfortune. What can be done?
    Pusta Krsna: Some of them will say some things that Krsna says, but they'll take from other places also. What is the position of such persons?
    Prabhupada: HE'S MOST DANGEROUS. He's most dangerous. HE IS OPPORTUNIST. HE'S FINDING OUT CUSTOMER, something here… According to the customer he is giving something, as the customers will be pleased. So he is not guru.
    (Bhavan's Journal, Vrindavan, June 28, 1976)

But I guess certain latitudinarian ISKCON leaders would want us to believe that these are only unimportant/irrelevant small details... so don`t worry about it and unnecessarily preoccupy your small brain… just go back to (innocent) sleep. (And chant Hare Krishna and when you can, give them some money.) And in any circumstances, do not talk about it publicly, because you will disturb the innocent.

Innocent…? More likely ignorant, as ISKCON leaders prefer to keep them in ignorance while they feed them foolosophical bull, just like mushrooms, while keeping them in the dark.

OM TAT SAT

Gopinath dasa


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