|Abbreviations frequently used:|
SP: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
SSM: His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhar Deva Maharaj
GBC: Governing Body Commission of ISKCON
ISKCON: International Society for Krishna Consciousness
|Let us study ISKCON, the wonderful movement started by SP. What has happened to the characteristics which made the movement so successful in the beginning? This study about a few aspects will try to touch all the major issues. We should never stop struggling to provide to others what SP gave mercifully to us. In this study I also include solutions. They are actually proposals to be worked out in cooperation with all members, and that will take a good deal of selfless dedication if we want to accomplish our service to SAVE ISKCON NOW.|
I HAVE STUDIED A FEW ASPECTS OF ISKCON WHICH LATER AFTER SP'S DISAPPEARANCE ALSO DISAPPEARED FROM ISKCON. OR THEY WERE DISTORTED TO CAUSE THE DISENCHANTMENT OF MOST OF SP'S DISCIPLES AND OF ISKCON'S NEW MEMBERS AS WELL. Actually it could be argued forever over so many points, but not for the sake of controversy, but rather in a mood of service to the relief agents, I will give short descriptions of what happened to ISKCON's wonderful characteristics after SP's ISKCON became the GBC's ISKCON. If I were to die today and one new devotee would ask me what is the most important thing to consider for living together with other devotees and to conduct vaisnava missionary activities, I would wish him to know all that which is written in this book. It may be disappointing for him to find out that even in the mission of a pure devotee so many dangers are found and obstacles appear to test our faith and determination. Nevertheless this is a battle guide in our battle against maya.
Also it should be noted that many of the present observations are not applicable to all ISKCON situations. First of all because ISKCON is changing every day, and secondly because every temple has quite different approaches to many issues, sometimes diametrically opposed to what the others do and say. This reveals the GBC's mental wrangles on all levels. No clear line exists anymore in trying to adjust to internal revolutions (like the one of the temple presidents against the GBC's in New Vrindavana), new questions and problems they face, etc. Therefore I cannot stress enough that this book is meant to provoke a real loving exchange to search for the personal realizations of real sadhus. They alone can further develop this study into an all accommodating solution by studying all times, places and circumstances. This is my prayer for the blessings of Sri Guru and Gouranga for all of us. Whatever I have received by the mercy of my eternal gurus, I am trying to put into reality in my own service outside of official ISKCON in our own ISKCON world, praying for the blessings of all genuine acharyas and members of all vaisnava families and missions. My godbrothers who closely work with me as well as those who consider themselves as my disciples are all my saviours and I pray that they may continue forever to spread the true spirit of humble vaisnava families in our sampradaya.
Don't be afraid to be critical with me and this book. I am convinced, as I have experienced so many times, that after careful consideration we will arrive at the same conclusions.
Everything Krishna does is perfect. So for the well being of all we suffered the consequences of our immaturity. By sharing the experiences gained from those sufferings we also pray to help to make future vaisnava missions more successful.
It is beyond a doubt that most of the human faults being described here are commonly found in all human structures both religious or secular. This is actually not past history. It is an ongoing challenge for the seekers of the truth and represents the true obstacles we will have to meet again and again in our search for purity. One day I read the description of the medieval Catholic Church and their policies. All of a sudden it dawned on me. If I substitute church with ISKCON and popes with GBC, the text could practically remain as it was. Similarly you will be able to identify many of the problems described in this book within your own structures in minor or major size, because they are maya's agents in this world.
When power is in the hand of impure persons, or managed by someone unqualified, it quickly resembles the symptoms of any totalitarian system. It becomes unjust, dogmatic and without any real connection to truth and revelation. Only a spiritual revolution can save us then from becoming victims of our own opportunism, conformism and lack of spiritual love and surrender. Whether it is the Gaudiya Math, ISKCON or any other real religion or sampradaya, success will always depend on a true living teacher, a real devotee. Therefore we should always look to be connected to such a person, Bhagavata. There are descriptions in the scriptures to recognize such souls, and all others should be rejected, even if we have received initiation from someone, who himself prooves insufficiently connected and qualified. It will result in my self loosing all spiritual enthusiasm and willingness to surrender and to serve if I allow the relationship with my siksa-guru, diksa-guru, Hari Nam Guru or Sannyas Guru, to become just a formality. These connections have to be without diplomacy and give me real happiness to be fruitful. We have been taught to give such a high trust to our gurus, and that can only be given to God's true transparent via media. If for some reason of our own previous bad karma we come in contact with lower concepts of theism, distortions, what to speak of Mayavada or materialistic teachers, we should move on quickly and thank the Lord that he has allowed us to recognize the real path to Him, our sweet home. Even if I am initiated by a true vaisnava, but due to circumstances I am not receiving the care, instruction, and protection I need, and at the same time I am feeling that I may fall at any moment, I need to quickly search out a siksa-guru. The guru must have some time for me, to engage me in his service. In such a case, if my diksa-guru is a true vaisnava he will not have any objection towards a siksa-guru of mine, who is soundly situated. Rather he will be happy that somebody is delivering the protection to me, which he is unable to give now. In case my initiating Guru is unreasonably opposed to my siksa-guru, I will have to decide carefully what to do. I cannot live without the blessings of a real guru and the truth is one. Then I can take initiation from my siksa-guru. This will not happen if my first guru was really bonafide. Otherwise the first initiation was not really valid, and did not fulfill what it was supposed to do. That conclusion is not offensive, it is necessary. We cannot live without a full and strong happy faith. Even in the Bhagavat-Gita we find that Krishna tells Arjuna to kill his weapon-guru because he had positioned himself against the highest Dharma. SP writes in this regard in the C.C. Adi-lila Chapter 1, Text 35 purport: Srila Jiva Goswami advises that one should not accept a spiritual master on the basis of social conventions, or ecclesiastical or hereditary structures or traditions. One should simply try to find one who is genuinely qualified, and truly advanced in spiritual understanding. (In other words all caste Goswamis, all zonal Gurus, all elected Gurus and Smarta Brahmanas suit that prohibition given by Jiva Goswami and SP.)
In ISKCON particularly we have seen that the zonal guru initiations turned out to be useless in the majority of cases, because the preaching godbrothers were practically invalidated by many zonal gurus and with nonsensical arguments the nail of distrust was driven into the movement, practically prevailing until today. Again and again, such situations may occur in any structure, ashram, math, etc. Our dear SSM had given us the saving recommendation, that new acharyas and their followers needed at least one place of their own, which they should start themselves within the greater mission. Let the new gurus show their sakti to actually convert others to Krishna Consciousness. Every temple president fulfills so many duties like a siksa-guru. Actually only he may decide to which guru(s) he wants to lead his new recruits for spiritual shelter. Unfortunately the human tendency of wanting to sit yourself into an already made nest was so big that SSM's advise was disregarded in ISKCON and the CUCKOO SYNDROME started to manifest.
A cuckoo is a particular bird which is too lazy to build a nest of its own, or to bring up his own birdies. So it looks for a nest of another smaller bird where recently the first egg was laid. In a moment at the bird's lunchtime, the cuckoo quickly puts its egg in the nest and splits. The returning bird cannot figure out what happened and faithfully sits on the invader's egg. After the little birds hatch the cuckoo turns out bigger, screams more and gets more to eat. Quickly the nest becomes too small for all of them. No problem for the little cuckoo, he simply kicks out the real offsprings to die and ends up the only "surviving child". This much surprises the involuntary fosterparents, especially when their bird takes off with the cuckoos.
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