Sep 03, 2017 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (SUN)
The comparisons between the early monks of Iona of the Scottish coast, whose desires it was to give up their seclusion to take their message and realisations to the general populace, and the wishes of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur to establish daivi-varnashram, taking the truths and teaching of Mahaprabhu off the hands of those who had misunderstood and cheapened the teachings, and reestablishing them in the proper format, is valid.
Lord Krishna in His Bhagavad-gita speaks of different means of purification, but at the end of His teachings said, just think of Me, become My devotee, and in a similar way Mahaprabhu after hearing from Ramananda Raya, rejected all methods and wanted to hear of the devotion of the residents of Vrndavana, especially the glories of Madhurya rasa of Srimati Radharani and her followers.
The ISKCON society has lofty goals for each of its following, but in introducing these lofty teachings into society, the gradual approach given in the Gita and the analysis of Ramananda Raya cannot be rejected. Although Mahaprabhu rejected, still he played the part and accepted the sannyasa ashram, and Krishna says even a man of knowledge has to act, just to teach the general public how to live.
Srila Prabhupada in conversation in 1977 in Mayapur began to give greater vision for the future of ISKCON, telling how the occupations and ashrams, although external, should be acted out for the sake of education, but these external activities should not take away from the deep knowledge of Krishna consciousness and the qualities of the devotees who are dhira, not adhira.
At that time, Prabhupada said it's not that everyone has to be brahminical and initiates, but a sudra could simply develop Krishna consciousness by his work linked to Krishna and gradually he would become Vaisnava, greater than the brahmana. So this slow and steady method is precisely what ISKCON is all about in order that the whole of society gets to know of and practice Krishna consciousness gradually.
It is of course important that ISKCON does not get swallowed up by society, compromised and watered down as some of the goals of the original monks of Iona became. We must always remember we are supposed to be playing the roll of the four varnas and ashrams, not living them for real; our desires and aspirations must be like Srila Rupa Goswami's verse: I am not a sannyas, varnaprasta, grhasta, bramacari, brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya, or sudra.
This appears to be Srila Prabhupada and His mission. He set up the framework, and the development is on going and needs careful consideration to make sure it stays on course with all the intricacies and spiritual subtle differences in place.