Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: This idea has been introduced into the movement by devotees who are being attracted to the modern world. For a devotee there is no question of traditional or modern. There is only the truth as given by our Vaisnava preceptors. The idea that there is some kind of duality in one’s mind that there is another way of thinking about truth is the phantasmagoria of modern impersonalistic thought. Truth is the truth and is axiomatic in its existence. It is beyond speculative thought. It is given by God. Any idea that exists outside the axiomatic truth is relative and is a fabrication of the mind of a mental speculator.
Thus the concept of a modern way of thinking is redundant to the true philosopher, especially if that modern way of thinking is propounded to be superior to Vaisnava Tattva. The idea of a ‘modernized devotee’ is better than a traditional devotee is preposterous and has been introduced into our society by devotees who have chosen to see Krsna Consciousness through the eyes of modern thought as opposed to sastric thought.
The PrabhupadaVision.com staff believes that the concept of traditionalist and modernist devotee is a red herring that has been introduced into the movement by maya in order to obscure the truth and superiority of Vaisnava tattva.
We invite devotees to submit their realizations on this subject matter to help us gain a better understanding of how modern thought has affected our societies ability to follow the instructions of Srila Prabhupada.
Dharma And Adharmas – Pizzas or Pakoras
It appears that the paper “Pizza or Pakoras” (now on referred to as POP) has been effortlessly accepted by mainstream ISKCON. POP posits, in very simple terms, the philosophical rationale behind why the author has spearheaded the change of the Protection, Care and Welfare of ISKCON devotees from a, albeit immature, Vaisnava Dharmic social system to a highly institutionalized process. A process fully equipped with Departments / Paid Positions / Staff Training and Academic Mentors.
This paper was written in an attempt to look at how mainstream ISKCON devotees have willingly accepted such a drastic shift from the Vaisnava Dharmic perspective and unquestioningly embraced modern institutional solutions. I also hope to raise questions on whether or not our movement should allow secular programs, trends and mentors into mainstream ISKCON?
Remembering that the so-called academic mentors quoted in the paper ‘POP’ are simply offering their own personal highly speculative and ‘yet to be proven’ ideologies, anyone with even Psych 101 training would know just how many differing opinions are out there in this very same field. Even the author of ‘POP’ has added his own perspective of the quoted ‘naïve realism’ changing it to ‘subjective realism’.
Nitya Dharma is an ‘object’s’ eternal nature, it’s transcendental nature. The term Naimittka Dharma is an object’s temporary nature, or mundane nature. Vastu is a term used to describe an object and its nature. Vas means: that which exists and tu means: that which has or an object’s qualities. There are three types of objects in existence: Bhagavan, Jiva and Maya.
In reference to this paper I will only discuss the perspective of vastu that is necessary. There are two types of vastu: Vastava vastu, that which is grounded in transcendence.Vastava vastu is an object’s sva-bhava or nitya dharma. Avastava vastu, temporary objects. Avastava vastu is an object’s temporary dharma. The jivas sva-bhava is when the jiva is in its ‘absolute’ or transcendental position in relationship with Sri Krsna whereas when the jiva is in its ‘relative’ position with regards to its relationship with Sri Krsna, it is covered by maya.
When the jiva or ego associates with maya it accepts a linga sarira, subtle body and asthula sarira, gross body. When the consciousness emerges into its linga sarira it immediately identifies with its sthula sarira and therefore becomes totally covered (false ego) by illusion and begins to think that it is this body. From this perspective the jiva begins to learn about is bodies functions and acquires knowledge. Ultimately all knowledge exists due to the presence of the Vedas. According to the culture and language that the jiva is born into it acquires knowledge about the mundane and/or spiritual worlds.
Language is a major way in which the jiva learns. Words of a language are arranged in many different ways to form sentences and paragraphs to convey ‘meaning’. In one arrangement of these words a poem or a sonnet is written, in another, the history of the culture is written, etc. The jiva is attracted to various arrangements according to their conditioning and level of consciousness, karma and guna.
ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE TRUTHS:
The arrangement of these words by the Sudha Bhakta is perfect and comes from both the Vedic shastras, puranas, etc., as well as from their own personal and intimate knowledge of Sri Krsna and is therefore absolute truth. The arrangement of these words to produce mundane knowledge (not quoting the Vedas) although its source is from the Vedas, it has been changed according to time place and circumstance. This knowledge, not being absolute, is relative truth, therefore it is relative to the absolute truth.
BEWILDERING SPECULATIVE TERMS:
The term ‘subjective realism’ is one of many terms or philosophical opinions that mundane philosophers use in an attempt to try and understand consciousness and reality. Some say that we conceptualize our existence ‘subjectively’ while others say that reality has an existence outside of our perceptions. Still others say that there is no way to understand reality since there exists a barrier of differing ideas confusing our perception of an object.
These points are ‘true’ for the speculative philosopher. This way of attempting to understand truth and reality from the relative sense can be summed up in another philosophic term –Sophistry, which is another word for impersonalism. Individuals write or accept as ‘truths’ various arrangements of words and terms dependent on their attraction to a specific arrangement of those words and terms.
According to our Vaisnava Shastra these are all forms of theories that come under the term of Naimittika — that is trying to understand the absolute truth from a relative sense and not from an absolute sense. All forms of thought and practice based on this relative understanding of the truth can be termed ‘subjective realism’. However, our movement is for the jiva who wants to enquire about the absolute truth, Athato brahma jijnasa, from those souls who have seen the truth.
Mundane philosophers try to understand truth from their own speculative methods in order to attain a state of being that can be described as ‘self actualized’ or the brahma-bhutaplatform.
The mundane, naimittka understanding of this state is when one is liberated from material bondage. It is highly debatable that mundane mentors and speculative philosophers that devotees follow have achieved this state, for this state can never be achieved by a mind bewildered by mental speculation. Nor can an aspiring devotee achieve this state by atheists or mental speculators who offer degree courses or certificates/diplomas in mundane speculative thought and practice. Generally devotees enamored by mundane secular methods and thought use Vaisnava shastra through modern computer programs such as the Veda Base to find what they believe are ‘loopholes’ in order to justify their mentor’s ideas, programs and policies.
The Vedic literature provides knowledge for all levels of consciousness. Because the greater majority of people within the mundane realm are here for sense gratification, the bulk of the Vedic literature gives them the knowledge how to gratify their senses. The knowledge for the liberation of the jiva is more discreet and lesser in quantity.
Vedic knowledge is divided into two forms. One is Nitya, eternal, and the other is Naimittika, or temporary. The knowledge for the liberation or moksa of the jiva is given to us in the form of Vaisnava Dharma and this knowledge is considered Nitya Dharma or divine knowledge of the true nature of the jiva. The Vaisnava Acharyas give us clear and precise instructions of how to achieve moksa. Pure devotional service is the only means to attract Krsna, states Srila Rupa Goswami (Nectar of Devotion).
THE ‘VIA’ MEDIUM FOR MUNDANE THOUGHT TRANSMISSION INTO VAISNAVA SIDDHANTA AND PRACTICE:
The academic gurus that devotees consult are nothing more than mundane mental speculators that have made a career and followers out of their speculations.
Terms such as liberalism and conservatism are also speculative terms that have nothing to do with Nitya Dharma and have only come into prominence in our movement due to the ‘medium’ of influential devotees taking shelter of mundane gurus or mentors. We use the term guru loosely, for in the Vaisnava sense this term is reserved for those individuals who have understood Sambhanda jnana and are therefore not bewildered by mundane thought.
Another and more accurate term for Liberalism is Latitudinarianism, the Collins dictionary meaning of this term is: permitting or marked by freedom of attitude or behavior, esp. in religious matters / or relating to a school of thought within the Church of England in the 17th century that minimized the importance of divine authority in matters of doctrine and stressed the importance of reason and personal judgment.
MUNDANE DOCTRINAL AND CULTURAL BIAS EFFECT ON RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS:
The only use of this doctrine within a religious organization is not to help the organization or individuals, but will have the ability to – “break up by means of a welter of so called liberal ideas which construct nothing themselves, but have the power to destroy the established order.”
Certainly certain cultural sensibilities must be taken into consideration when applying the KC philosophy and practice within various cultures. Like for example in Vrndavana India, Srila Prabhupada wanted only men to perform the puja for the Deities. This is so as not to disturb the sensibilities of the caste brahmanas. But we also know from Srila Prabhupada’s practice of Krsna Consciousness in other countries that he welcomed his female disciples to do puja.
Cultural bias is evident in ISKCON, no doubt. Many devotees who have received samskaras from mundane schooling have brought these ideas into our movement in an attempt to be more Latitudinarian in the practice of Krsna consciousness. A very good example of this is how the education of our children has been ‘liberalized’ by incorporating secular educational curriculum and syllabus in our Gurukulas.
ETHNIC (CULTURAL) BIAS:
One very good point that the paper ‘POP’ has made is true: that many devotees have kept together in their various ethnic (cultural) cliques. For example some Russian devotees or some Italian devotees are keeping together for friendship and association. This is not a problem. However, it can become extremely problematic if the ethnic group forms a clique in order to philosophically deviate.
The ethnic group that the writer of ‘POP’ belongs to is also a very cohesive clique. Although a minority within the movement they have a major role to play in the leadership of our movement, especially with regards to policy and program development.
Devotees take shelter within their various ethnic groups according to various reasons, however most don’t do so for mundane philosophical reasons, but some do.
The commonality between most devotees is the philosophy and practice of Vaisnavism according to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. The so-called ‘second church’ conservative devotee who it is claimed by this paper (POP), is more or less an ‘entrenched vocal minority.’ usually does not co-operate with institutional ISKCON as they believe that many of the policies and programs that are being introduced are Adharmic and therefore not according to Vaisnava Shastra. It is reasonable to determine that these devotees are not trouble makers, but it is their belief that institutional ISKCON is attempting to engage devotees in mundane policies and/or programs that are Adharmic and by definition not Nitya Dharmic activities and duties and hence take us further away from Krsna.
BEWILDERMENT LEADS TO ‘BACKDOOR’ INCORPORATION OF NEW POLICIES AND PROGRAMS:
This paper ‘POP” displays how easy it is for devotees to accept secular academic/corporate mentors, methodologies and practices into the Krsna Consciousness movement. The establishment of a major department “ISKCON resolve”, which is seemingly for the welfare of devotees, has been given unquestioning support by both the GBC and general devotees. Corporatism is simply another term for Authoritarianism.
The institutionalization of welfare and caring is nothing more than Authoritarianism under the ‘banner’ of providing a humanistic service to a community. Such departments also run the great risk of collecting sensitive personal information on individuals that can be used for purposes other than stated.
The incorporation of these Latitudinarian ‘ideas’ and ‘thought’ into our movement will only water down the process of Krsna Consciousness and lead to turning our movement into a mundane religion (Cheating Religion). Which is something that Srila Prabhupada was aware of and therefore strongly warned us against doing.
The incorporation of such programs and policies give a platform for the ‘Latitudinarian’ influenced aspiring devotees to voice their personal mundane sensibilities and opinions that are not based on our Vaisnava Dharma Shastra and only digresses them from their ‘real’ devotional purpose. This way of thought is not based on any Dharma Shastras (Nitya/Naimittika/Anitya Dharmas), they are in fact not following Dharma for these views, opinions and attitudes are Adharmic. That is, they are born out of personal desire based on mental speculation.
‘Flag waving’ of women’s issues are mainly used to get the women’s vote, as modern women and women’s issues are important issues in contemporary secular culture so it pays to have them on side. The terms ‘equality’ and ‘egalitarianism’ cannot apply to Vaisnava culture, for to say that the culture is not perfect or that Srila Prabhupada made mistakes or was ‘ sexist’ not only displays one’s lack of faith in our process but also a lack of understanding of the universal application of Vaisnava philosophy and culture.
The undisputable fact that women in ISKCON have been badly and/or unfairly treated has nothing to do with the culture of Vaisnavism and everything to do with individuals in institutional ISKCON and/or the devotional community making decisions and expressing opinions that are based on the cultural and/or ethnic bias of the particular devotee, and displays the devotee’s lack of emotional and spiritual maturity rather than being based on any Vaisnava teaching or practice.
Faulty reasoning in devotees, for example in the way of Child Abuse, may see some devotees thinking that Srila Prabhupada did not specifically tell us that it is wrong to abuse children or not to protect the perpetrator at the expense of the victim. He in fact gave us abundant knowledge of how to lovingly look after children by giving us Gokul Vrndavana, which is overflowing with how a Vaisnava community loves, protects and cares for its children. The fact that devotees abused children and others in position acted to protect the abuser instead of the victim has nothing whatsoever to do with the philosophy or Srila Prabhupada, but ‘everything’ to with individual devotee’s uncontrolled desires, lack of emotional maturity and qualification.
CO-OPERATION BETWEEN DEVOTEES:
Srila Prabhupada did want that we co-operate to spread his movement, although he did not intend that we co-operative to incorporate mundane secular policies and programs therefore embedding them into our supra mundane movement.
When we all co-operate to spread his movement according to Vaisnava Nitya Dharmicpolicies and programs that he instructed us to do, there is no problem between the so-called core and non-core practice of Krsna consciousness, actually there is no distinction between the two. It is only when ethnic and philosophic bias is introduced that there is conflict.
For example when an aspiring devotee who is attached to a contemporary Adharmic idea or mentor wishes to have this idea or mentor’s speculative thought incorporated into the practice of Krsna consciousness, then we will see this conflict.
The practice of Krsna consciousness has been given to us by Srila Prabhupada and is therefore by definition our Nitya Dharma. To incorporate an idea or practice that belongs to a mundane philosophic idea or something that is being practiced by another culture, both of which are by definition forms of Naimittika Dharma, will naturally cause a clash. Bhaktivinoda Thakur in Jaiva Dharma uses the term Balisa in describing these people — that is a person whose mind has been polluted by mundane doctrines.
CONFLICT WITHIN ISKCON:
Most conflicts that occur within ISKCON are due to the emotional immaturity of individuals. Some of these problems are personality clashes or bad treatment by individuals to others. These problems are growing pains of our movement. As the individuals within the movement grow in their Krsna Consciousness they will automatically mature and these problems will cause us less of a concern.
Emotional immaturity in an individual leads a person to take on a position that they are not qualified to hold. The positions within a spiritual movement require a considerable level of material and spiritual maturity in order to appropriately lead and care for others.
The term ‘substitute teacher syndrome’ is a speculative term used by mundane speculators who have no idea of what a teacher is. In our understanding, a teacher is a Brahman by qualification and training and is therefore qualified to teach. Devotees in the movement do miss having Srila Prabhupada’s presence, but there are so many nice devotees who apply his teachings and instructions to a high standard in their life who are not given the opportunity to take on leadership roles and positions due to the problems that are outlined in this paper.
Srila Prabhupada has given us all that we require. There are many devotees who have both spiritual and material maturity within ISKCON. Here like in the secular world there exists a problem of having the right person to take the responsibility of the position. In the secular world ambition is the main reason for taking on a position. The same seemingly holds true in ISKCON. The ambitious devotee is more likely to take a position.
This we see in Srila Prabhupada’s time. Srila Prabhupada would use the devotee’s ambition to push on his movement. Now this is not so important. We have to ‘boil the milk’ so to speak. There is no urgency to expand. The urgency is to become ‘more deep’ in our Krsna Consciousness.
We must now take the time to increase our love for each other in relationship to Sri Krsna. We need to take the devotees that we have and make us a closer, more loving and caring society. We need not seek answers to our problems from mundane mentors, knowledge and programs. We already have the knowledge. We need to slow down and come closer. Talk and share more with each other.
The process is first Sadhu Sanga then Bhajana Kriya, then anartha nivriti, then nistha, thenruci, then asakti, then bhava, and then prem. We don’t have to take any help from anyone else. We have so many nice devotees already here. Why are we wasting our time with big, big departments and official positions and mundane academic qualifications?
We must never forget simple living and high thinking. Srila Prabhupada did not want us to expand our movement with mundane policies and programs, creating more and more bureaucratic departments and positions.
The institutionalization of the care and welfare of our devotees is not simple living and high thinking.
Most of our problems are due to over ambition by individuals who are not qualified by varna or spiritual and/or emotional maturity taking the association of mundane secular ideas and mentors and bringing these ‘ideas’ and mentors in the name of ‘yukta vairagya’ into the leadership and management of our movement.
Mundane ambition is a symptom of values that have been instilled in an individual via the medium of secular schooling. Mundane secular education and training make an indelible impression, samskaras, on the individual from the process of pressurized study and rigorous testing leading to certification / diploma / degrees / doctorates etc. that eventually lead to positions in the secular workforce.
Gaudiya Vaisnavism teaches to value uplifting one’s consciousness through the process ofRaganuga Saddhana Bhakti, where one eventually attains the platform of prem, unconditional love for Krsna. Hence the aspiring devotee learns to appreciate and value increasing one’s consciousness and not one’s position in reference to the bodily concept of life. Position is afforded due to ‘real’ spiritual advancement, not desire or ambition. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly advised, “first become deserve then desire”.
Mundane secular education and society teaches men and women to value position in society and not consciousness. Individuals ‘schooled’, in this way of thinking believe that they are not satisfied unless they are advancing along the line of hierarchical positions. However devotees, no matter what gender or position, are content with spiritual progress.
The modern corporate and/or new age processes of ‘secular education’, ‘mediation’, ‘group therapy’, ‘equality’ and other so-called ‘liberalistic’ or ‘latitudinarian’ ideas of training and restructuring our movement along secular and pseudo spiritual ways can only lead to the destruction of Vaisnava Dharma and turn Srila Prabhupada’s movement into a cheating religion, thus rendering it bereft of spiritual potency.
The Krsna Consciousness Movement is a spiritual movement that is meant to uplift the jiva from being enmeshed in maya. For this purpose the Acharyas have given us the perfect culture, the Vaisnava culture, in order to live our lives as we develop our Krsna Consciousness. To change or ‘adapt’ this culture for whatever purpose must be seen as problematic. For in order to do so automatically denotes that the person making these changes must be coming from a similar platform as the previous Acharyas, at the very least. If the person making or suggesting such is not from a similar platform then the person’s motives must be questioned.
SRILA PRABHUPADA WARNS:
Srila Prabhupada warned that his Krsna Consciousness movement can only be destroyed from within. The most effective manner to destroy this movement from within is to bewilder the devotees with mundane speculative ideas / thoughts / terms and programs, thus ensuring that argument and schisms are introduced into our devotional family and thereby rendering the movement ineffective.
We pray that we have not offended anyone with the writing of this paper, but Satyam grihyat priyam grihyan ma priyah satyam apriyam. It is a social convention that if you want to speak the truth you should speak it very palatably. But we are not meant for social convention. We are preachers, servants of God, and we must speak the real truth, whether you like it or not. (Journey of Self Discovery)
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,