Radhe Shyam Dasa – Vrndavan: When I first joined the movement I was told that certain academically contrived modern systems and ideologies that are applied by the leaders in the institution (in the name of devotional service), at the time, were the gospel truth.
Experience however, has taught me that what is propagated as modern spiritual fact (in the form of engineered political correctness, mundane secular academics, corporate style of management, religious pluralism etc) is simply the current belief of some leaders who have; lack of faith and/or (miss) understanding of Shastra, its teachings, and its applications.
These individuals were fully influenced and conditioned via Academia, and its program of social engineering and deconstructive critical theory stratagem… (This was pointed out in the paper Dharma and Adharmas )
From the beginning we were trained and accustomed to regard ISKCON leaders and their statements as axiomatic, ‘absolute Truth’ with a capital T.
Modern concocted knowledge used by them, is in fact, the best temporary available approximation of truth in judgment of the majority of people at a particular time, who work in the particular Academic field. If we are to look at the history of Academic knowledge, we will find that there is a permanent pattern in place; it is constantly changing…
What is troublesome about this is the possibility that ISKCON leaders, specifically the academics (the head), and managers (the arms of society), will make public statements on the Truth from their imperfect position, due to the imperfect senses (four defects), their speculative Academic training, and so forth.
As time goes by, that “truth”, being relative, will be changed by them again and again, and the new systems/beliefs will become popular and slowly, with time they too, will fade out as the outdated “Truth”.
This creates serious disturbances in the society via the forms of cliques, polarizations, factions and Schisms that are catalysts for the chaos that we can observe, is rampaging our institution.
Sruti Smriti Puranadi Pancharatrabidhin bina Aikantiki Harerbhakti utpataiba kalpate.
“Pseudo-devotional activities without reference to the standard scriptures are simply acts of disturbances in the name of spirituality. The performer of Samkirtan must refrain from such disturbing elements.”
The problem becomes troublesome, when the top echelon leaders, systematically, consciously and condescendingly disempower their followers, by statement such as: “Do not question – just follow your authority for they know what is best for you” (little infantile bambinos), in the attempt to cover up their real intent.
In this case, Questioning is not encouraged, but it is rather unwanted and in their eyes, unwarranted and disturbing.
The problem is further aggravated by the fact that the majority of people are actually eager to be guided by the ideologies of leaders, regardless of how bad these may be. The majority would rather follow than lead. They are content and even anxious to let authorities do the thinking for them. Hence they hand over total decision making power to their authorities.
In our intellectual apathy we forget that the modern/secular thoughts, policies and programs are almost as faddish as taste. Since the current opinions of modern Academic secular establishments are only the latest and never the last word.
We must, for our own safety as sincere followers of Sree Caitanya Mahaprabu, bear the responsibility of evaluating our leaders and their ever changing ideological guidance’s and thoughts. That is especially so when their decisions, policies and programs are not based nor condoned by Guru, Sadhu and most importantly Shastra (pramana).
In other words, we should never relinquish our individual leadership and in this case questioning becomes encouraged and expected. (As per Srila Prabhupada`s instruction: we should be independently thoughtful people)
Failure on our part to do so will only create and facilitate the unhealthy environment wherein we will be susceptible to cheating by the cheaters. (ISKCON`s record speaks for itself on this matter)
If we are to look at the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and the system that is practiced within the Vaisnava culture, we will see that it is/was always based on questions and answers.
Followers always ask the authority to dispel their doubts in the form of questions and the leaders respond with appropriate and satisfactory answers, and certainly not by condescending psychological abuse, heavy handed tactics, and as their last resort deafening silence as it is often a common practice within ISKCON.
The Bhagavat Gita is the perfect example of Gaudiya Vaisnava system. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra when Krsna asked Arjuna to fight, Arjuna developed a series of bewildering doubts in regards to killing friends, family members and even his GURU.
Krsna`s reply was not; “when I ask you to jump, you don’t ask why, but, how high”, “just do as you are told”,”I’m senior”, “do not question my decisions”, “I’m your Guru and I know what is best”, “you are creating disturbance, and negative energy”, ” don`t rock the boat”, “you are an offender” Etc, as is the favorite practice of majority of ISKCON leaders today.
Rather, in a diametrically opposed way, Krsna takes His time to clear all of the Arjuna`s doubts patiently, kindly, with love and compassion. Not only is He answering Arjuna`s questions, but at the end of it, He is willing to repeat the whole Bhagavat Gita again, just in case Arjuna is still having some unfinished doubts.!!!
There are other vital Vaisnava literatures that are based on the same principle namely Questions & Answers like Srimad Bhagavatam, Jaiva Dharma etc. All these writings are given to Gaudiya Vaisnavas as the most important guidelines to show us the precise way of obtaining the actual Truth.
This begs to question: Why is it that the present day leaders in ISKCON are uncomfortable, angry, disturbed and eventually scared, when asked to explain themselves, their dubious actions, and dispel our doubts as it is practiced by genuine Vaisnavas?
Haven’t we learned from our past, when we were super imposed by unqualified personalities full of personal agendas and motives and we were forcefully fed their personal mental speculations/concoctions and this ignorant, deep rooted system of blind following where in the end everyone involved had to bear horrid consequences?
Presently, these speculative/secular Academically contrived systems are being applied in the name of devotional service and service for protection of the devotees and children via ISKCON Resolve, Ministry For Educational Development (M.E.D.), ISKCON schooling systems, Child Protection Office (C.P.O.), and are especially evident in the deep-rooted modern corporate style of management.
All these departments, protocols, and systems, it seems, were implemented by the ISKCON leaders for their own personal material benefit/protection and not for the benefit/protection of spiritual interests of the members in our society.
As long as the above mentioned departments, policies and programs remain under the present already proven guilty, unaccountable, abusive and corrupted management, they will be taking us further away from the actual Truth given to us by Srila Prabhupada and Vaisnava Acarya`s.
Are we going to blindly follow them with sheep like mentality that can only lead us to a ‘spiritual’ slaughterhouse, or will we start to think for ourselves and question everything that is not based on GURU, SADHU AND SHASTRA (pramana), which is the only bona fide process given to us by the predecessors-Acharya`s to obtain the actual Absolute Truth. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
Radhe Shyam Dasa