Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Vṛndavan: The GBC and in particular the Sannyāsa Ministry have continually ‘failed to act’ and have been negligent to appropriately and expediently respond to problems within their own FISKCON /ISKCON system particularly relating to their executive members – The most obvious ‘failure to act’ is when their member is blatantly displaying behaviour most unbecoming of a member of the Sannyāsa ashram and disciple of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. This has never been more the case than as depicted by one of ISKCON’s most flamboyant and public figures – Indradyumna Swami.
For many years now Indradyumna Swami’s activities have been unrestrictedly and unabashedly degrading the Sannyāsa ashram and the good name of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda and our ISKCON Society.
The Sannyāsa Ministry is responsible for over 85 Sannyāsīs and is recruiting more each year as they ‘act’ in their role as the Recruitment Department of the parent company ISKCON which offers Guru Business Franchises to their senior members in order to expand their FISKCON enterprise. The sannyāsa ashram is to all extents and purposes the ‘gateway’ to procuring a Guru Franchise within the FISKCON institution and so their standards are very low as evidenced by the Sannyāsa Ministry’s function to date.
The undeniable fact that the Sannyāsa Ministry failed miserably to properly train, appoint and supervise their members can only be explained by the understanding that they are not Brahmins and therefore are incapable of acting in truth and according to Vaiṣṇava sastric injunction and the order of their so called spiritual master His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda.
“Śrīmad Bhāgavatam Canto 7 Chapter Fifteen, Text 36: One who accepts the sannyāsa order gives` up the three principles of materialistic life – namely religion, economic development and sense gratification. One who first accepts sannyasa but then returns to such materialistic activities is to be called a vantasi or one who eats his own vomit. He is indeed a shameless fellow.”
A Sannyāsī is the head of the varnashram system and as such is the most perfect Brahmin, actually he is a Vaiṣṇava Brahmin, as given by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda and is on the paramahamsa platform of spiritual realization and so is on the transcendental platform. Even so, at least a sannyasi must be a qualified Brahmin and the Ministry should at least be comprised of Brahmins or Brahmincally minded devotees – which it is obviously not.
The quintessential example of this failure is Indradyumna Swami. FISKCON’s last other obvious example is Umapati Swami who, like a spoilt brat, left ISKCON as he did not want to give up being an active Homosexual in Sannyāsa garb. How many decades did it take ISKCON to act with disciplinary measures? In all those years how many so called disciples or victims did this sexual predator ruin, while the Ministry, the GBC and the other Guru Franchises looked the other way???
The senior members should provide good role models for the more neophyte members which in FISKCON have proven to be quite the opposite. The senior members of the Sannyāsa ashram have only served to be poor and debauched examples rather than upstanding examples of the senior most ashram of the Varnashram system. What example does the ISKCON Sannyāsa Ministry offer its sannyāsa members by ‘failing to act’ to properly supervise them? What example do they show the devotional community when they intentionally allow their so called sannyasa members to degrade and debauch themselves to such an amoral extent?
Members of the GBC Standing Sannyāsa Committe:
1. HH Guru Prasad Swami
2. HH Bhaktivaibhava Swami
3. HH Śivarama Swami
4. HH Prahladananda Swami (Minister/chairman)
5. HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami
6. HG Hṛdaya Caitanya dāsa
Above are the standing members of the Sannyāsa Committee who have the responsibility to supervise the 85 odd members of the Sannyāsa ashram within ISKCON.
85 or even 100 is not a large number of individuals to supervise for any such body and the fact that there are presently, and have been in the past, so many sannyāsīs that have fallen into the vantasi level of consciousness is stark testimony to the ineffectiveness and lack of qualification of the present Sannyāsa Ministry.
Below is a ‘cut and paste’ of the qualifications for an ISKCON sannyāsī from the Ministry which is rather open ended really in light of the current state of the Ministry’s membership. It is rather telling that they have misspelt ‘Spiritual’ as Spriitual which only goes to show how observant they are…
Qualifications for Sannyasa
According to Bhagavad Gītā a sannyāsī must have at least three basic quaifications:
2. Spriitual knowledge
Of course sannyāsa being the spiritual master of the varnasrama system should also possess all the brahminical qualifications such as truthfulness, simplicity, sense and mind control, and equamity.
Fearlessness, spiritual knowledge and purity are most certainly the criterion for a sannyāsī but the history of the ashram under the supervision of the Ministry has proved that their membership is far short of members who possess these qualifications at a level worthy of being appointed as a sannyāsa within the framework that Śrīla Prabhupāda established.
The Ministry and especially the Minister should possess the fearlessness, spiritual knowledge and purity to be able to do their duty properly and not act in such an irresponsible manner. The Ministry should be comprised of fearless brahmincal devotees who, armed with sastra and by the purity of their service attitude to the pure devotee their own spiritual master His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda, serve and protect the sannyasis under their care.
However, to this very day they have all failed miserably to do this. They have all, every last one of them, been totally irresponsible and negligent of their duties and responsibilities of their office.
Given that this is the kali-yuga and it is almost impossible for a baddha jīva to be able to maintain such a high standard of moral and spiritual behaviour, the onus is on the Ministry to make sure that they themselves have more than simply book knowledge of what it takes to be a real sannyasi.
The single most telling symptom of the Ministry’s ineffectiveness and utter uselessness is that Indradyumna Swami is charging around the world with his circus of dancing girls and his camera and it appears that they cannot do a single thing about it. It seems that they are completely impotent to check him.
Any half way decent institution, once one of their members have derailed and then exposed as the swami was in the article Indradyumna Swami’s Girls, would have acted swiftly to check its wayward member. Yet the Swami happily continues with his debauched behaviour which is nothing but an embarrassment and insult to his ashram and to His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda.
They all know that the swami’s behaviour is not an ‘accidental fall-down’ and that he is exhibiting behaviour that is coming from an inherent conditioned sexual response to the lifestyle that he is leading. They know they have to stop him and the sooner the better for all concerned but they procrastinate as they know very well that to ‘point the finger’ at any single act of debauchery, philosophical deviation or falldown has three of their own fingers pointing back at them.
The pure devotee or śuddha bhakta of the Lord does not fall down in any situation. Śrīla Prabhupāda was very clear on this matter. Even though one is on the path to perfect his life, when he is an aspiring Vaiṣṇava devotee of the Lord, he must be respected at all times and even if the person accidentally falls down due to his past activities he is due respect for he is on the path to perfection.
BUT, accidental fall down is something that happens by chance or unexpectedly or unintentionally and is caused by past activities still being burned off in the fire of purification. This by no means infers premeditation or forethought which results in perpetual fall down or a state of being permanently fallen along with a concomitant self-righteous state of defiance.
The fact that a devotee knowingly engages in activities contrary to devotional service to the Lord means that they, knowing better, intentionally engage their thinking, feeling and willing process to indulge in debauched or philosophical deviant behaviour unbecoming of an aspiring Vaiṣṇava.
Prabhupāda: Well, when one is a professional, there may be something wrong. That doesn’t matter. But you try to discharge your duties, rightly, whatever you are prescribed to do. Then everything will come to the right point. Your only business is to follow the four principles of regulative life and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa sixteen rounds. So there may be sometimes mistake. That will be corrected automatically. Because we are coming from different platform, so it may be. And that is also said in the Bha… Api cet su-duacaro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva sa mantavayah: “If one is found doing mistake or doing something wrong, but because he is sticking to this principle of Krsna consciousness, he is sadhu.” Sadhu means a holy man. He is holy. He is not doing any wrong consciously. But due to habit… Suppose just like most of you were, in your former life, you were smoking or taking intoxication. But by some influence, if you sometimes take to it, yes if your are conscious, “Oh, I have done wrong,” but that is excused if you have done unconscious. But if you think that “Now I am Kṛṣṇa conscious. Whatever I do, it is right,” then this is a great sin. But accidentally it happens – that is excused. Never mind. So accidental mistake is not dangerous. Willful mistake is dangerous. That we should be careful. We should be very careful always so that accidental mistake also may take place. But if it takes place, it is excused. [Room Conversation – Columbus, May 10, 1969]
A member of the Sannyāsa ashram who has taken a vow of celibacy and renunciation should know better, however, such amoral behaviour, as displayed by Indradyumna Swami is not an accidental fall down. It is intentional. Therefore he is knowingly committing sin. He has been warned for many years and yet he actively chooses to ignore those warnings and continues to push on with his agenda as if he is Kṛṣṇa conscious and seemingly under the misconception that everything that he thinks, feels, wills or does is personally directed by the Lord Himself.
You can dress this up in any manner you like but the truth cannot be escaped – Indradyumna Swami’s behaviour and attitude is certainly demoniac.
If this is the leadership that the ISKCON Sannyāsa Ministry is promoting then what hope is there for our ISKCON society to be able to follow the instructions of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda?
A snippet of the life of another Hare Kṛṣṇa monk / sannyāsī, Devamṛta Swami.
Devamṛta Swami’s Diary: On Tuesday morning, May 22, I retreated an hour and a half up the road to Girirāja Swami’s house, near Santa Barbara. He took one look at my weary bodily machine and called for his disciple who was a professional masseuse and acupuncturist. My visit to Mahārāja’s place allowed me about thirty hours to unwind, before returning to Los Angeles Wednesday night. Giriraja Swami and I chatted about vital Krishna conscious topics, especially about the preeminent role of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. Since he was a retired Governing Body Commissioner of South Africa, I sought his advice on management there, now that I had been requested to do that service.
This is nice to see god brothers relaxing and engaging in Kṛṣṇa katha. Yet there is something very disconcerting about the fact that Girirāja has a house ‘anywhere’, what to speak of having easy access to a professional masseuse (female massage therapist), to relieve the ‘weary bodily machine’ of other sannyāsīs.
When you’re young and green, often you think you know almost everything–you’re going to reinvent the wheel and turn the world upside down. Maturity tempers that brashness with the wisdom that others may actually know something valuable. Nevertheless, as my Godbrother HH Śivarāma Swami relayed to me, “We may think that now, with all our decades of experience, we can direct younger devotees so they’ll avoid repeating ISKCON mistakes of the past, but actually not all of them will listen cent percent–even our own disciples . . . ” To at least some degree, some of them will have to repeat at least some elements of the past. In other words, despite our attempts to counsel, a significant number of the juniors will feel compelled to do things “all their way” and get burned. The senior leaders won’t be able to completely eradicate that syndrome, but at least they can conscientiously work to minimize it–without dampening the youthful enthusiasm that is so important for powering the future.
Nice to know that they are discussing how to better manage the zones under their care yet it does not sit well with me that although they see that the neophyte may need to learn through second or perhaps third class intelligence, they themselves don’t? They themselves don’t have to learn not to imitate the nitya siddha devotee by pretending to be a self realized soul? “Now I am Kṛṣṇa conscious. Whatever I do, it is right,”
The only mistake from the past that their disciples should never repeat is to take shelter of such debauched frauds.
For two days straight, I accompanied Girirāja Swami on his almost daily ritual of walks on the beach. As the tide of the Pacific Ocean moved in, he chanted and I did my pranayama breathing: out with the Los Angeles smog, in with the fresh sea breezes–just as the doctor in Puri, India, had instructed me. Right before my departure, arrived HH Indradyumna Swami, “the hardest working man in Krishna-festival business.” Flying directly from Eastern Europe, he sought a much-deserved rest at Girirāja Swami’s abode. I was unashamedly envious–he had scheduled thirty precious days of recuperation there.
Nice life Girirāja Swami lives. He, like us, chants everyday but he lives a very materially privileged life so it seems. Good on him I say! He deserves to live the life that his family has bequeathed him. It is also very sweet how affectionate and caring they all are with each other, so similar to how we are with our friends and associates.
They are also very truthful about each other as we hear here that Devamrta Swami acknowledges Indradyumna Swami as being the “hardest working man in Krishna-festival business.” Ah the honesty of these ‘men’. IDS’s festival business is a very hard business. Yes they work hard and take the risks but what a pay off! Servants that serve them and collect funds for them, worship them and help them in their private Guru Franchises which are not in ISKCON’s name. I am sure that it is worth it really…
For an hour we talked the “sannyāsa talk.” An esteemed Godsister, Urmila Mātājī, traveling to an airport in Italy with HH Bhakti Tīrtha and me, quipped that as soon as householder devotees meet, they talk about their children, and whenever sannyasis meet, their first topic is traveling. So yes, Indradyumna Swami and I talked about traveling–in relation to preaching and health. We both noted that as the years go by, the body takes longer to recover from intercontinental jaunts.
Regretfully I had to tear myself away–I was supposed to give class the next morning in Los Angeles. But before I could get out the door, Indradyumna Mahārāja embarrassed me, pointing out I had not written for my website since September of last year–eight months ago. “Your fans, like me, are wondering what’s going on.” Red-faced that Godbrothers were bothering to read what I wrote, I promised I would get back into it.
Fans? The idea that their followers are fans is very disconcerting. Lady Gaga has 10 million followers on her Twitter account… On some websites dedicated to Lady Gaga over 40 million people ‘like’ the page.
Talk for sannyāsīs is about travelling and for gṛhasthas it is children? What world do they live in? Travelling business class and staying in 5 star hotels while gṛhastha devotees can’t afford to travel what to speak of stay in any star hotels? Gṛhastha devotees have friends not fans and they usually look at ways in which to fund the affluent lifestyles of the rich and famous Sannyāsīs, many times is at their own detriment.
There is absolutely no need to provide any more evidence or info on the debasement of the sannyāsa ashram by the Sannyāsa Ministry and their 85 odd sannyāsīs who have ‘allegedly’ taken a vow of celibacy and wear the cloth but have no idea of where they are actually at in their spiritual consciousness. But if we are to judge by past and presents sannyasi gurus of ISKCON we can more safely say that they are vantasis and most definitely not sannyasis.
The Sannyāsa Ministry should be more appropriately renamed the Vantasi Ministry.