Some years ago, I spoke to Jayadvaita Swami about my concerns over his editing of Srila Prabhupada's books. My parting words to him were, "Never fall down." He reassured me that it would never happen. What I meant by this was, given the serious nature of the editing he had taken the liberty of doing, if he ever fell down, it would cause chaos in ISKCON. The GBC/BBT would have to admit that all this editing was done by someone who was contaminated.
The term "fall down" as used in the ISKCON lexicon generally refers to breaking the regulative principles, and in the case of sannyasis and gurus can also refer to not chanting the prescribed number of rounds of japa. Of course, the GBC does not take action unless you catch someone in the act, or in the rare case they actually humbly admit to "falling down". Otherwise they are free to continue their nonsense.
According to our philosophy, deviation -- commonly known as 'falling down' -- includes a far wider spectrum of offensive behaviors. For example, 'fall down' behaviors include impersonal siddhantic verbal and written statements. 'Offensiveness' refers to anything and everything prohibited by Guru, Sadhu and Sastra.
Throughout all Lord Chaitanya's pastimes there are many examples of His strict adherence to the principle of only tolerating "pure devotional service", with little or no compromise. The rule is, no association with non-devotees, especially mayavadi impersonalists, what to speak of complete adherence to the regulations applying to the renounced orders. Our Founder-Acarya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada followed and implemented these principles in 1966 within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada's introduction of the Governing Body Commission was primarily intended to monitor and correct any deviation from his pure and strict program. My question is, why has the GBC leadership strayed so far from this standard?
Historical memory demonstrates that only the very basic and undeniable circumstances are dealt with decisively by the GBC when it comes to devotees found to be breaking the regulative principles. This slackness is especially applied to their "friends at the top". The Sampradaya Sun has illustrated so many examples of this double-standard type of permissiveness. That said, at the risk of appearing repetitive, I'm moved to share with the reader my perceptions into the character of H.H. Jayadvaita Swami.
I and many other concerned contributors have written articles dealing with Jayadvaita Swami's extensive editing of Srila Prabhupada's books. More recently, two incidents have publicly exposed serious flaws in his character, manifesting in the form of his negative perception of the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON.
In a recent edition of the Sampradaya Sun we ran a YouTube video wherein Jayadvaita Swami clearly admits that he has certain strongly held controversial opinions. More than likely, these opinions originate back to the time he was participating in Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON lila. These explosive thoughts are related to ISKCON's unique style of performing kirtan, mangal arotik prayers, and other moods and methods of chanting. Jayadvaita Swami is not well known as a "kirtan man". Apparently his strongly held viewpoints have been hidden from the rank and file up to now. One wonders why he was asked to give a seminar on kirtan at all?
His brief, unqualified pronouncements on the subject have caused quite a disturbance within the hearts and minds of the devotee community. His surprising confession conjures up many fears about other "opinions" that might be buried within the mind of this senior ISKCON leader. Why has it taken so long for this seed/weed to fructify? Is this a warning sign that Jayadvaita Swami is falling down or mūṣiko bhava, is becoming a mouse again? Has his unauthorized editing work of the Founder-Acarya's writings resulted in a withdrawal of divine mercy?
There are other dangerous indications of the Jayadvaita Swami's fall down, such as his devoting so much time and energy in the writing of his new book, entitled Vanity Karma, which is based on an obscure biblical text, the 'Book of Ecclesiastics'.
The reader can judge for themselves by listening to Jayadvaita Swami's promotional video on Vanity Karma:
Is he retreating to his hereditary roots -- the karmic curse from which Srila Prabhupada freed him some 45 years ago? The tendency in the 'mouse again' parable is to go back to your hereditary conditioning.
During his devolution, Maya is so strong that once the mercy is retracted, the person who is committing offenses does not even realize what is happening. They don't reflect upon the fact that their attraction towards asiddhantic principles or breaking regulated principles, or whatever one devolves into, is the result of committing offenses. They may not even realize they are committing offenses. That's how powerful Maya is. It's up to advanced devotees to point that out -- that's why we need advanced association. And it is the reason why Jayadvaita Swami needs to be saved by advanced devotees. But once you've reached that pinnacle of power within the ISKCON organization, no one will dare to point out the obvious facts: that you are losing your taste for Srila Prabhupada and the process of Krsna consciousness, and as a result you are doing nonsense activities.
The persons that Lord Chaitanya forbade us to associate with, the Mayavadis, were considered by Him to be the most dangerous. But the fact is that they were very strict when it comes to following the regulated principles. So the falling down factor in associating with mayavadis is not that due to their association, you're going to break the regulative principals. Rather, it is that by associating with them, you're going to become contaminated by impersonalist philosophy. So the most dangerous influence on us is impersonalism. And the most telltale signs that one is becoming impersonally contaminated is that they do not treat the spiritual master as being as good as God.
From a Gaudiya Sampradaya philosophical perspective, the Vanity Karma commentary by Jayadvaita Swami on this Jewish scripture is virtually useless, irrelevant, and bordering on the bizarre. Do our ISKCON senior sannyasis not have far more important work, directly inline with the Acarya's program?
In Jayadvaita Swami's commentary on ISKCON's kirtan standards, he ignores the historical reality that Srila Prabhupada many times enjoyed and participated in the style of kirtan that he is now claiming is unbonafide. Jayadvaita Swami's attitude in the video is that all those engaging in this sentimental practice are essentially neophyte fools. He feels that we should essentially do away with the chanting of glorifications directed exclusively towards The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada.
Jayadvaita Swami's statements fly in the face of the GBC endorsed paper, Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, penned by Ravindra Svarupa dasa. The message sent by the paper is that members of ISKCON should be glorifying Srila Prabhupada to an even greater degree.
Overall, Jayadvaita Swami does not project a loving mood towards his guru maharaja, Srila Prabhupada. I would go so far as to state that his obsessive editing is a clear indication of that. But now we have further proof, by his expressed viewpoint on glorifying Srila Prabhupada in kirtan. And I see his distraction with Jewish scriptures as yet another warning sign.
These telltale signs should be obvious to anyone who has any understanding of our
Vaisnava philosophy. Jayadvaita was born into, and was perhaps destined to be academically absorbed in the culture of Judaism. But our tradition has copious scriptures written by genuine Acaryas. If Jayadvaita Swami wishes to analyze and comment on any one of them, then who would criticize him? Why does he feel the need to focus on another spiritual culture -- a culture that happens to be the tradition he would no doubt have remained absorbed in if he hadn't chosen to become a disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami?
The Sampradaya Sun also published the recent talk given at the Los Angeles temple by the head of the North American BBTI, Sura dasa. Of course, in classic ISKCON fashion he does not openly declare that it is Jayadvaita Swami's statements on kirtan that form the basis for his critical commentary. His ambiguity no doubt lost some members of his audience, although he let everyone know that his Godbrothers who form the upper echelons of the LA Temple talked in private, and they all agreed that the unnamed Jayadvaita Swami's lecture on kirtan was disturbing to them.
The readers can go back and listen to this lecture and judge for themselves. But do not expect any action by the GBC against Jayadvaita Swami. The GBC body has many advocates who are of the opinion that ISKCON should be adopting the mood of liberal academia. No doubt his liberal, academically inclined friends on the GBC will stand-up and protect Jayadvaita Swami.
I can only write and publish my thoughts in hopes of warning the innocent Vaisnava devotee of the dangers of being seduced into accepting and following this offensive mindset by individuals on the way to being mice again.