Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: We need to ask ourselves why are so many ISKCON devotees engaged in philanthropic (public charity) work when Srila Prabhupada wanted his disciples to be engaged in the Sankirtan Movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu?
“The Krsna consciousness movement has taken up the mission of curing this disease, but people are not very appreciative because they do not know what this disease is. A diseased person needs both proper medicine and a proper diet, and therefore the Krsna consciousness movement supplies materially stricken people with the medicine of the chanting of the holy name, or the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and the diet of prasadam. There are many hospitals and medical clinics to cure bodily diseases, but there are no such hospitals to cure the material disease of the spirit soul. The centres of the Krsna consciousness movement are the only established hospitals that can cure man of birth, death, old age and disease.” (CC Adi Lila 10.51)
Srila Prabhupada’s conclusion on the purpose of Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan movement in relationship to mundane philanthropic work is very clear in the above quotation. ISKCON’s purpose is to heal the spiritually dis-eased not the material disease.
- The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations.
- Something, such as an activity or institution, intended to promote human welfare.
In the United States alone there are over fifty thousand foundations and trusts engaged in public welfare projects that total a massive 450 billion dollars in assets alone. Philanthropy differs from ‘charity’ in as much as Philanthropy is organized human welfare while charity is short relief.
|2009 Contributions By Source of Contribution|
As you can see it is a multibillion dollar industry for the United States alone. Private individuals are many times more generous than the corporate business sector which means the rich get richer and the low income earners get to look after the underprivileged and socially disadvantaged of society.
Worldwide, the ‘humanitarian charitable sector’ is a multibillion dollar – trillion dollar industry and is highly organized on local, state, national and international levels so why are ISKCON devotees involving themselves in mundane charitable work when our understanding of charity is pushing on with Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan Mission?
Our leaders, due to their fraudulence, have purposefully steered our ISKCON society into the New Age movement and are increasingly engaging in mundane charity as they know that they can easily obtain money in the form of donations by appealing to people’s mundane sentiment and emotions and they are fully aware that collecting money for mundane philanthropic work is very lucrative indeed. The decision to do mundane charity is driven by the pursuit of money to build their personal empires and has nothing to do with raganuga saddhana bhakti whatsoever!
Terms like: love / peace / happiness / harmony / togetherness / joy / bliss / forgiveness / rights / compromise / ‘your’ soul / hungry / poor / food relief / care /medical / hospital / children / clinics / unity / healing / greening / earth mother / spirit… are being introduced into the ISKCON vocabulary and are increasingly being matched with preaching and program development.
How many secular schools, hospitals, eye clinics, hospice care facilities and public food relief programs have devotees opened for the public in either the name of ISKCON or claiming to represent Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON?
So many millions of dollars are being collected in the name of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON which is being utilized in purchasing land and constructing buildings to aid in philanthropic (charitable) work by devotees who claim to be representing Srila Prabhupada but whose activities have nothing to do with the Sankirtan Movement of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada’s instructions.
“When a devotee develops in devotional service, however, he no longer has attachments to such philanthropic activities. He is simply inspired to serve the Lord, and he engages his entire life in such service.” (CC Adi Lila 7.143)
There are basically two types of devotees engaged in philanthropic activities as opposed to devotional activities. These are devotees who act as part of the ISKCON institution itself such as members of the Sannyasi ashram who, masquerading as ‘Rubber Stamped Guru’s, open Hospitals and Clinics etc to attract sentimental or philanthropic people to donate to their ‘Private Guru Franchise enterprise’.
Then there are the devotees who have left ISKCON and are engaging in public philanthropic activities in order to obtain charitable (tax free) donations who; also open up Hospitals, Schools, Public Feeding programs, and otherwise engage in charitable work in order to build their private enterprises.
This latter group ‘trade off’ on Srila Prabhupada’s name, the legal entity known as ISKCON or some ‘issue’ that they are championing; in order to convince donors that they are a bonafide religious organization (Trust) who genuinely desire to serve Srila Prabhupada. In order to obtain donors and donations, they make a big show of being a philanthropic organization that really cares for the mundane welfare of socially disadvantaged people; especially children, similar to the thousands of other charitable organizations or charitable collection agencies that are active on the social welfare front.
What example are these devotees setting for the devotional community at large when they choose to spend their efforts, resources, manpower and finances in building enterprises which are philanthropic in orientation at the expense of their own spiritual lives and the lives of the innocent devotees who are doing what they believe is ‘seva’ in these various projects in the form of voluntary work or the giving of donations.
The assumption or presumption that if you simply ‘add’ some aspect of the Sankirtan Movement to philanthropic social welfare work you will be able to pass it off as genuine raganuga sadhana bhakti is highly deceptive.
The activity of; feeding school children; providing acute, pastoral and hospice care for the sick; feeding cows; educating children in secular humanistic academic schooling and any other ancillary welfare work has nothing to do with the Sankirtan Movement.
Many devotees are engaging in mass prasadam distribution in order to raise funds to do other philanthropic projects to build their enterprises. For this they distribute prasadam in secular schools and they engage many devotees in offering either donations or service in these programs.
Bali-mardana: I believe I’ve heard you said in other lectures that a person who takes prasadam, even a plant or a…, any kind of living entity who takes prasädam or hears the name, that it will come back at least to human form of life. Is that correct?
Prabhupada: No, if he’s devotee, then he’ll come. But this taking of prasadam, or hearing Hare Krsna mantra is advancement for becoming a devotee. But if he takes prasadam not as ordinary prasadam, foodstuff, he believes that “This is remnants of foodstuffs given to God,” if he understands this philosophy, then guaranteed. If he takes the prasadam as ordinary food, “All right, these people are distributing, prasa… Let me take it. It is very tasteful,” that will give him chance to accept prasadam next, next, next… In this way, one day he’ll come to the point that “This prasadam is not ordinary foodstuff.” Then he’ll… There is guarantee. Because only the devotee can appreciate that “This prasadam is not ordinary foodstuff. It is Krsna’s remnant of…” Therefore, he understands Krsna. That is said in the Bhagavad-gita, janma-karma ca me divyam yo janati tattvatah [Bg. 4.9]. In truth, when he understands, then his life is guaranteed.
This is all the more stark when we are seeing that these adjunct services are increasingly procuring donations and manpower. The Sannyasis Gurus in FISKCON who are passing themselves of as ‘initiating spiritual masters’ and are ‘illegally’ accepting disciples for themselves have directly disobeyed Srila Prabhupada and by doing so are bereft of any connection to our Sampradaya. This disconnection to our parampara means that these reprobates have lost their spiritual potency (if they ever possessed any) and have to therefore make some show of religiosity by engaging in mundane charitable philanthropic work to make up for their lack of spiritual realization.
Suppose he begins in philanthropic work, some hospitalizing or opening educational institution. That is nice, but these things are being done by the government and many philanthropic persons. That is not the duty of a sannyasi. A sannyasi, a renounced order of life, his main business is to spread Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness. That is his real business. But if one has not the taste what is Krsna consciousness, simply accept sannyasa, then he will do all this nonsense work. (Bhagavad-gita 3.1-5 Los Angeles, December 20, 1968)
Thus they fraudulently present themselves as being self realized souls, param gurus, who are qualified to reinterpret and rewrite the instructions of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada to make up for their lack of spiritual credentials and bonafides.
The ignorant pseudo-religionists and the manufacturers of so-called incarnations who directly violate the Vedic injunctions are liable to enter into the darkest region of the universe because they mislead those who follow them.… The pseudo-religionists have neither knowledge nor detachment from material affairs, for most of them want to live in the golden shackles of material bondage under the shadow of altruistic and philanthropic activities and in the guise of religious principles. By a false display of religious sentiments, they present a show of devotional service while indulging in all sorts of immoral activities. In this way they pass as spiritual masters and devotees of God. Such violators of religious principles have no respect for the authoritative acaryas, the holy teachers in the strict disciplic succession. To mislead the people in general, they themselves become so-called acaryas, but do not even follow the principles of the acaryas.
These rogues are the most dangerous elements in human society. Because there is no religious government, they escape punishment by the law of the state. They cannot, however, escape the law of the Supreme, who has clearly declared in Bhagavad-gita (16.19–20) that envious demons in the garb of religious propagandists shall be thrown into the darkest regions of hell. Sri Isopanisad confirms that these pseudoreligionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after the completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.
Sri Isopanisad Mantra 12
Due to disloyalty to His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada they do not have the spiritual acumen to understand the dire consequences of purposefully deviating from the order of the Spiritual Master. Due to disobedience to the Pure Devotee His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada they cannot engage their followers and supporters in pure devotional service and thus they can only cheat them.
“Vyasadeva is the spiritual master of our disciplic succession; therefore we should follow in the footsteps of Narada Muni and become pure Vaissavas. A pure Vaissava is one who has no ulterior motive. He has totally dedicated himself to the service of the Lord. He does not have material desires, and he is not interested in so-called learning and philanthropic work.” (CC Madhya Lila 23.252)
The sincere seeker of the absolute truth must be discriminating when engaging in devotional service in order to make sure that they are not being cheated. To engage in genuine raganuga sadhana bhakti one must be able to follow the instructions of the spiritual master. For those of us in ISKCON this means the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. NO ONE ELSE!
The onus is therefore on the individual devotee who they hear from, follow, or give their precious time and money, however if they cannot discriminate between activities that are sanctioned by Srila Prabhupada and activities that are sanctioned by someone else they too will engage in activities in direct contradiction to the orders of the Spiritual Master – His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
A person who has taken initiation from one of the fraudulent Rubber Stamped Gurus and who mistakenly believes that just because these fraudulent so called gurus have been ‘rubber stamped’ by FISKCON as ‘initiating diksa gurus that they are bonafide, must acquaint themselves with the instructions of Srila Prabhupada before they begin to think that they are actually engaging in pure devotional service under these imposter gurus.
If anyone who has ‘innocently’ taken initiation from one of these fraudulent gurus and does not accept the quotes provided herein by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada as being correct, then their sincerity and intelligence must be gravely challenged.
“When one assumes a role in goodness by starting philanthropic and altruistic activities, such activities become impediments on the path of devotional service.” (SB 7.15 Summary)
True philanthropic activities are those activities that are related to the order of the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada such as Distributing and Chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, opening Temples and farming communities, distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books etc.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s philanthropic activities are performed in connection with the eternal soul.” (CC Adi Lila 8.15)
The sincere seeker of the absolute truth must be willing to surrender their heart, mind and intelligence to serving the bonafide spiritual master, who in ISKCON’s case, is His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, then and then only will their seva be accepted by the Lord.
“This consciousness of isavasya— everything belongs to Krsna —must be revived, not only individually but nationally and universally. Then there will be peace. We often tend to be philanthropic and altruistic, and we strive to be friends with our countrymen, with our families and with all the peoples of the world—but this is based on a wrong conception. The real friend is Krsna, and if we want to benefit our family, nation or planet, we will work for Him.” (OWK 3 Seeing Krsna Everywhere)
The proliferation of philanthropic activities disguised as bonafide raganuga saddhana bhakti are to all extents and purposes private enterprise / businesses for the individual devotees who are engaged in personal enterprise building rather than the real purpose of ISKCON.
There is no doubt that these individuals possess the karma to attract donations and build philanthropic enterprises, however, this does not equate to true spiritual realization. For true spiritual realization would lead these devotees to utilize their skills talents and shakti in assisting Srila Prabhupada in the Sankirtan Movement of Lord Caitanya and not waste their time and endeavours on private enterprise building by engaging in charitable philanthropic work.
Many times these devotees use the skills, talents and most importantly ‘connections’ that they have made being part of ISKCON, to further their personal careers as businessmen when establishing their own private charitable business enterprise. Charities engaged in public welfare activities are better able to procure funds in the form of donations than business activities.
However, for many devotees to involve themselves in philanthropic activities means that they have in actual fact lost faith in pure devotional service. Devotees lose faith in the process mainly from being disheartened by the ruthless and devious nature of the FISKCON institution.
However, if someone has actually understood the process of raganuga sadhana bhakti but disagrees with the Institution of FISKCON and their bogus policies, they will not be attracted to philanthropic activities in order to raise funds for independent projects. They will continue with what Srila Prabhupada has taught and instructed them to do but privately.
The devotee who is sincere in engaging in pure devotional service must recognize activities that engage them in working or funding private business projects of philanthropic religious entrepreneurs and seek seva in activities that are conducive to the development of their raganuga saddhana bhakti.
Private Pseudo religious projects which claim to represent Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON are not sanctioned by Srila Prabhupada, neither are they part of the Sankirtan Movement; which means that the person who is volunteering their time, resources or giving donations to these projects is being cheated. These projects take advantage of innocent / sentimentalist devotees and/or members of the public’s emotional response to the suffering and hardship of socially disadvantaged people to obtain money which, in light of our Sankirtan Movement’s purpose, is mercenary and impersonal.
The onus is on the individual to make sure that they are actually being engaged in activities which are conducive to pure devotional service and not mundane activities of personally motivated individuals who are trading off on Srila Prabhupada’s name and fame for their own personal advantage and aggrandizement.
We must remember that simply because people in general react sentimentally and emotionally to those engaged in mundane charity work, does not negate the instructions of Srila Prabhupada nor does it make it right that we as ISKCON devotees, run with open hearts and wallets, to aid those engaging in mundane social welfare charitable work.
The devotees who are either Sannyasis or older devotees who are engaging in mundane philanthropic social welfare charitable enterprises are simply cheating everyone. This must be clearly understood. It is up to you whether or not you really want to be cheated.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada