Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham: Many devotees are well aware of the new trend in ISKCON known as the “Retreat” where the various FISKCON Gurus retreat to in order to give private classes away from the ISKCON Centers and Temples. The idea of retreats or religious retreats is not a new one and it was used extensively in many Private Religious Schools where they were termed “Camps.” As a youngster coming from a Roman Catholic background our school would take us on these “Religious Camps” where we would do plays and listen to sermons about how to better our religious lives and so on.
Twenty odd years ago I began similar retreats in a Temple in Australia where we would hire a Lake Retreat owned by some Church Group and we would take the whole community; Temple Devotees and Congregation, for two days where we would do plays and have lectures by senior devotees and such. As a matter of fact one of the main organizers of the Japa Retreats here in Braja came along once and was very interested in what I was doing with these retreats.
However, the retreats I organized were devotional community based, designed to bring us all together to help grow and develop our community as a whole, which has very little to do with the highly specific academic model practiced by the new age FISKCON gurus today. Another distinguishing feature of our retreats was that they were not ‘personality based’ which tends to focus the audience’s attention on a particular personality and we focused more on Śrīla Prabhupāda and in community bonding.
The “retreats” of modern day ISKCON are personality focused and to all extents and purposes aimed at ‘grooming’ devotees to become followers of the particular charismatic ‘personality’ or ‘personalities’ who is giving the retreat or seminars, rather than Śrīla Prabhupāda or our collective ISKCON society. These people use Śrīla Prabhupāda and the ‘idea’ of ISKCON as an international society, merely to give some form of bona fides to their role as a guru coming in the Vaiṣṇava paramparā, but their real intention is to garner support for their own private Guru Maths.
Their claimed purpose is to increase a devotee’s taste for Kṛṣṇa consciousness but this is difficult to accept in light of their past as members of the Gopi Bhava Club. Sivarama Swami, Dhanurdhara Swami, Bhurijana Dāsa, Sacinananda Swami, BB Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Kesava Bharati etc are all ex officio members of the Gopi Bhava Club.
Along with the “retreat” trend is the change to the more ‘charismatic’ approach to preaching which is a very poor substitute for the ‘substance’ approach of the śuddha bhakta such as His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Tamala Kṛṣṇa Goswami and Kṛṣṇa Ksetra das both pushed the idea that Śrīla Prabhupāda was a charismatic leader as they cannot understand the nature of a pure devotee and so in an attempt to legitimatize their lack of spiritual adhikāra they began espousing the false doctrine of ‘charisma’ being the main attribute of Śrīla Prabhupāda and had this ratified in academia by their various published works.
They have made charisma into a science instead of a pseudo science which it actually is. Therefore they incorporate various techniques such as Neuro Linguistic Programming and in particular micro facial expression and body language gleaned from pop psychological authors and TV shows, in order to use as tools to mesmerize or woo their audience and followers. Due to their lack of true spiritual advancement and acumen they have to lean heavily on the development of charisma, positional power and influence in order to maintain their pretense of being on the same platform as the pure devotee Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Which is why they preach using sentimental facial expressions that mimic deep realization / contemplation / care / concern / compassion, and use physical shows of affection like hugging, dance poses portraying spiritual connection, and voice intonation meant to demonstrate sincerity of intention.
Last but not least they club together to show they are members of a ‘special’ esoteric group or camp similar to the Gopis of Vṛndāvan.
The use of seminars give the impression that the various Gurus and Senior Devotees who lecture are very advanced learned Vaiṣṇava Brahmans who are deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare and growth of the attendees. They desire to give the impression that they are now strictly following Śrīla Prabhupāda and no longer want to rip apart Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society with sentimentalist mumbo jumbo of the sahajiyā Vaiṣṇava philosophical orientation. But the fact that they kept on seeking out śikṣā from Narayana Mahārāja up until his death and now are running off like silly little girls to Ramesh Baba of Varsana is testimony of their traitorous natures.
None of these Guru’s will ever admit that they were a part of the original Gopi Bhava Club lead by the wannabe Ācārya Tamala Kṛṣṇa Goswami with Bhurijana das as the president and Narayana Mahārāja as their ‘śikṣā guru – which almost brought about the ruination of ISKCON in the mid nineties.
One may argue that they have reformed and are now mainstream ISKCON and are genuinely giving classes by sharing their deep spiritual realization on the hard science of the Bhagavad Gītā, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and the works of the Goswami’s of Vṛndāvan and all that they ‘take’ in return is a donation…
Yes this donation aspect of the Retreats really is the telltale aspect that shows their true intention…
Let us not call it a donation shall we… It is a fixed fee which they want you to think is actually a donation, or a heavy discount for what you would have to pay if a ‘stranger’ gave you the same seminar.
However, Śrīla Prabhupāda has a very different idea on donations given to speakers of the Bhāgavatam and Brahmans… Vaiṣṇava Brahman’s included…
Śrīla Prabhupāda on a morning walk in Johannesburg, October 16, 1975 said – “There is no need of money. The brāhmaṇa teaches everything free of charge. There is no question of money. Anyone can take education as a brāhmaṇa or a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya. There is no… Vaiśya doesn’t require any education. Kṣatriyas require little. Brāhmaṇa require. But that is free. Just find out a brāhmaṇa guru and he will give you free education. That’s all. This is society. Now, as soon as… At the present moment, as soon as one wants to be educated, he requires money. But in the Vedic society there is no question of money. Education free.
Śrīla Prabhupāda established ISKCON as a training ground for Brahmans who gave what knowledge they had gained from serving him to others according to their individual mood and realization of the subject matter. His instructions on what a Brahman is, is backed up by the Vedic literature and the Vaiṣṇava Paramparā. The Vaiṣṇava Brahman’s role is not up for discussion or modification according to time, place and circumstance, it is a time honored tradition. In this tradition the Brahmans are educators and never take money from their students.
A donation means:
“A voluntary gift (as of money, service or ideas) made to some worthwhile cause or an
“Act of giving in common with others for a common purpose especially to a charity”
This does not mean a minimum cash amount of US $300.00 dollars for eleven days of seminars.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, they are not brāhmaṇas. Those who give education in exchange for money–they are not brāhmaṇas. For instance, we are lecturing, educating people. We don’t say, “Give us a salary.” We simply ask them, “Please come.” That is why we are cooking food and holding so many free festivals. “We’ll give you food. We’ll give you a comfortable seat. Please come and hear about self-realization and God consciousness.
” We are not asking money–“First of all pay the fee; then you can come and learn Bhagavad-gītā.” We never say that. But these so-called teachers who first of all bargain for a salary–“What salary will you give me?”–that is a dog’s concern. That is not a brāhmaṇa’s concern. A brāhmaṇa will never ask about a salary. A brāhmaṇa is eager to see that people are educated. “Take free education and be educated; be a human being”–this is a brāhmaṇa’s concern: You see? I came here not to ask for any money but to give instruction. [Journey of Self Discovery]
Śrīla Prabhupāda made this point abundantly clear.
But then when they get around 300 students over eleven days it adds up to around US$90,000 dollars. With very little overheads this amounts to quite a good fee for services rendered by our Vaiṣṇava Brahman Gurus and their wives…
As this trend to do ‘retreats’ grows how much cash are these people going to make? It is now around $300, but what happens when it reaches one thousand attendees? Of course they will keep the numbers down for now as FISKCON is still but a small group of separatist ‘clubs’ vying to get as many followers or supporters as possible so should anyone of them rise to fame too quickly the other groups with tear them down to get a slice of the action.
However should they get one thousand attendees @ say US$400 dollars a pop [due to inflation] … That is a cool US US$400,000 dollars! Now that is an extremely lucrative business to say the least. Now we can see where they are going with regards to the fixed donation scheme of theirs.
Of course we know that a Brahman never charges money for his sevā, it is all free, however once charging they lose their status as a Brahman and so they must not be considered as such. Of course the less intelligent or the apologist can consider that since they call it a donation we must consider it as a donation or that if they went to a karmi seminar it would cost many times more… Blah Blah Blah. It is a FEE for services rendered – Get over it!
Sivarama Swami alone can pay for the overheads and offer the course for free after all what is he doing with all his family’s money? Why can’t he give fifty percent in the service of Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan Mission and a mere ‘pocket change’ pittance in the form of these retreats? No way. He makes the devotees pay for it as if they are karmis who attend some mundane New Age seminar.
This mentality is not even on the kannistha platform of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and is more mlecca consciousness of an insecure frightened unprotected sudra.
Such a trend within our society does not seek to bring our members together as a family but to separate us into fragments headed by charismatic self interested personalities, who are called in our case – Gurus. The end goal of these people is to promote ISKCON as being a collection of charismatic gurus who have their own groups or moods but share the same ‘structural organization’ named “ISKCON.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda was an expansive, all inclusive spiritual warrior who was sent directly by the Lord Himself. He was not miserly nor was he a separatist, he built a house for everyone to live and serve the Lord. He preached boldly and widely to Academics, Hippies, Government Official, Heads of State and Religionists alike that the highest Dharma is the love of God.
These people are not interested or capable of going out into the world to bring back devotees to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON. They are only interested in harvesting people who have already become attracted to ISKCON via Śrīla Prabhupāda’s system of Book Distribution, Temples and Preaching programs – for their own miserly desires.
These retreats are simply ways in which they can suck off Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society rather than add to his society. They use his society like a leech uses its host, who is there simply to suck its blood. All that they make whether it be money, resources, or property, they keep for themselves and give nothing to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON.
Even though they want us to believe that they are part of our ISKCON society they actually exist ‘outside’ of our Society and feed off us for their own personal lusty desires, much like the Vampire of myth and legend.
In this way they can do whatever they desire all in the ‘name’ of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Śrīla Prabhupāda and ISKCON, but remain untouchable from any accountability whatsoever. This is why Indradyumna Swami can keep on with his degraded activities thus making a mockery of the Sannyāsa Ashram, Śrīla Prabhupāda and ISKCON and ignore anyone who challenges his disgraceful perversions. He is a power unto himself.
The institution, even if it wanted to, cannot touch the man. Now that he has been awarded by the institution; Sannyāsa Guru Status, he is basically untouchable. However when I exposed his uncouth behaviour with unshakable evidence, he proved his guilt by taking the offending photos down from his inglorious website but did not admit to any wrongdoing or his fallen vantasi status.
The various club mentalities that run amuck in our society have formed various disloyal elitist Clubs and Sub-Clubs which are very divisive and counterproductive for our Vaiṣṇava society. Due to their disloyalty to our Founder Ācārya His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda they tend to gravitate to each other, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ forming into groups of various moods in order to give them a sense of togetherness or comradery as if they can gain some strength in numbers. The sense of guilt and betrayal drives them to seek similar association, similar to drug addicts who, knowing that they are breaking the law and addicted to drugs, find others in the drug subculture to seek solace and support in their nefarious lives, for the GBC and Gurus in their ignorance of spiritual etiquette, obtain some false sense of security in numbers.
These clubs form sub groups of ‘mates’ who hang together for support and recreation. A prime example is that of the “Boys Club Joint Housing” subdivision in Rādhā Raman Baghicha in Śrī Vrndavana Dham where many of the Gopi Bhava Club members live. Sivarama Swami, Indradyumna Swami, BB Govinda Swami, Giriraja Swami all own houses next to each other and Dhanurdhara Swami bums a stay whenever he is in town.
This particular sub group stems from the Gopi Bhava Club which is the ‘Parent Club’. These ‘mates’ hang out in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham together and swap stories of their escapades, compare cameras, their latest gadgets and who knows what else, while they are treated like Kings and served hand and foot by their fawning disciples and followers.
They hardly, if ever, go to the Kṛṣṇa Balaram Mandir which is their alleged spiritual master’s home and the central Temple of ISKCON – possibly due to a sense of shame and guilt at the thought of facing the pure devotee His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda as they know full well what they have done.
These people, also lacking a sense of the ‘international society’ that Śrīla Prabhupāda envisioned and established are therefore not interested in ‘preaching’ to the general mass of devotees but prefer to preach within their individual franchised Maths and the Maths of the parent club – The Gopi Bhava Club.
The ‘Math’ system deviation is due to their association ‘outside’ of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s God Brother Sridhara Swami who, like his other God Brothers, splintered into individual Math’s when the original Gauḍīya Math was splintered shortly after Bhakisiddhanta Saraswati Mahārāja entered into Samādhi. This is exactly what occurred when Śrīla Prabhupāda entered into Samādhi however; the disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda at the time did not splinter the society itself but took this splintering deviation to a greater level by breaking the society it into a multitude of clubs so they could all share in the breakdown of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society.
The BBT and MVT are prime examples of clubs which are fiercely separatist in orientation and both have sought to break down Śrīla Prabhupāda’s intention for that particular service and morph it into one where the ‘trustees’ can do with the club as they desired. The Rubber Stamped Guru Club is also another fiercely independent deviant club that has changed the face of our society and perverted the role of a Vaiṣṇava Guru. Then there is the Sannyasa Club which has degraded the idea of renunciation. There is the Secular Education/Academia Club which has degraded our Vaiṣṇava education as given by Śrīla Prabhupāda and has merged it into Secular Humanism. Lastly there is the Religious Syncretist Club who is seeking to homogenize our Vaiṣṇava Religious tradition via interfaith.
The Gopi Bhava Club is perhaps the most potentially destructive for it undermines the rational scientific basis of our philosophic orientation by confusing ‘make believe’ as presented by the sahajiyā Vaiṣṇava sects of India with divya jñāna of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition. The fairytale make believe of the sahajiyā baba’s of Braja, who the members of the Gopi Bhava Club are taking śikṣā from, are interested in finding Kṛṣṇa in their imagination which is not based on rigorous study and personal growth through the strict saddhana that Śrīla Prabhupāda taught.
In Braja the ‘mood’ is focused on their roots in the old “Gopi Bhava Club”, headed by Tamala Kṛṣṇa Goswami, who had as their ‘rasika guru’ Narayana Mahārāja. The President of the then Narayana Mahārāja Math was Bhurijana das, the same Bhurijana das who was very interested in my ‘retreats’ of which I earlier spoke about above and is now the main organizer of the traitorous “Govardhana Retreats/Japa Retreats.
The basic idea or philosophic pretense behind the Gopi Bhava Club is the spurious belief that they descended from their līlā as Gopis with Kṛṣṇa and were incarnated or sent by Kṛṣṇa to take over from Śrīla Prabhupāda and lead the Sankirtan Mission of Lord Caitanya. The reason why this particular club has been depicted wearing saris in some photos on this website is that they have been known to clandestinely dress up in saris and playact as Gopis while performing macabre rasa dance scenarios. Who knows what drives them to perform these grossly bizarre performances or what lies deep in their subconscious that pushed them to wear women’s clothes and pretend to dance with Kṛṣṇa when they, of all people, should know better?
The Gopi Bhava Club headed by Tamal Kṛṣṇa Goswami in the mid nineties was poised to leave ISKCON lock stock and smoking barrel which would have torn our society asunder. However, when the non Gopi Bhava Club members of the Rubber Stamped Guru Club in the GBC caught wind of their plans they immediately shut down and dispersed the Gopi Bhava Club for their traitorous activities – via FISKCON’s relationship with the Indian Government; had several of the Gopi Bhava Club members’ Indian visas cancelled and banned them from getting a visa for a fixed amount of years. By keeping them out of India and in particular Braja Dham they were not able to maintain their traitorous activities meant to divide and degrade our Vaiṣṇava society. However, the ban has since been lifted and they all came back with their tails between their legs and kept a very low profile, but their disgrace is still in the minds of many devotees who remember only too well their traitorous deeds and their cross dressing activities. Unfortunately they are mainly recognized in a humorous way by the older more sober devotees who laugh heartily the idea of seeing these guys dressed in saris and prancing around like Gopis…
During their days in exile when Bhurijana and his wife Jagatarini mataji were banned from India in the mid nineties they used this time to travel the world of ISKCON in a recruitment drive and, in their words, ‘we are looking for devotees who were ready to take it to the next level’ which was of course sahajiyā Vaisnavaism headed by Narayana Mahārāja as Bhurijana, at the time, was still the President of Narayana Mahārāja’s Math and simultaneously a Guru in ISKCON. Their other purpose was to put their children through higher education and secure a base in the west at the expense of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON society, if in case they should ever be booted out of India again.
The Vṛndāvan Gurukula was the Gopi Bhava’s base in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham and they all congregated around this particular venue to build their society but when the club lost its hold on the Gurukula after being banned from India, Bhurijana das made his opportunistic disciple Braja Bihārī das baby sit the Gurukula as Principal so that should the Gopi Bhava Club have a chance to get it again they would already have Braja Bihārī in place. However, their plans were thwarted by the then Temple President Mahaman das who steadfastly refused to give in to the Gopi Bhava Club’s demands to gain full control of the Gurukula Building and use it as leverage to move the school to the Goshala land.
However, Tamala Kṛṣṇa Goswami the ‘ringleader mastermind’ managed to secure a property out in Govardhana, which was close to the Babajis of Govardhana and Radhakunda to better facilitate ‘śikṣā’ instruction for their elite members. The property is affectionately known as ‘Govardhana Palace’ and it was ideal in that they could be far enough away from mainstream ISKCON where their ‘activities’ could be more easily scrutinized, and so they could begin to establish their own program.
Fortunately due to Tamala Kṛṣṇa’s timely death in a terrifyingly violent automobile accident he was not able to see his dream come true of having a well established center for his people.
However, having temporarily lost control of the Gurukula building, Bhurijana das managed to have the Vṛndāvan Institute of Higher Education [VIHE] ISKCON’s Adult Educational facility relocated from the Gurukula Building to the ISKCON goshala in order to gain a foothold in Śrīla Prabhupāda Goshala; should their plans be realized, via the VEB [Vṛndāvan Executive Board], they could then move the Gurukula onto the cow’s property in the Goshala which would afford them a huge property which would otherwise cost them a fortune what to speak of it being out of sight of the ISKCON Temple.
Through fate or devious activities Mahaman was removed and the VEB or Vṛndāvan Executive Board was formed to run Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham which gave the old Gopi Bhava Club members more or less absolute control of ISKCON Vṛndāvan. The new VEB set about ruthlessly smashing and removing any remnants of the old guard devotees who ruined their plans to separate from ISKCON under Tamala Kṛṣṇa Goswami. The Gurukula was given back to Club and it was taken out of ISKCON and is now a private institution held by them. They managed to throw the Temple Administration out of the Gurukula Building along with the Brahmacārī Ashram but were not successful in removing Aindra Prabhu’s 24hour Kīrtan Ashram out although Braja Bihārī, his wife Ananda Vrndavanesvari and the then Temple President Devamrta now Swami fought tooth and nail to have Aindra Prabhu thrown out.
The VIHE was still in Bhuirjan’s hand had now relocated to the Goshala where they await their plans to also move the Gurukula to the ISKCON goshala and construct huge complex which includes a Restaurant / Apartment Complexes / Gardens and small ‘milking cows only’ Goshala – after all they are Gopis and they need milking cows…
The plans are now back on the ‘books’ as Pancagauda das the notorious Temple President of ISKCON Vṛndāvan is supporting them as he supports any deviant individual or group that desires to have a slice of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON pie. Gopal Kṛṣṇa Goswami, although not a member, is in full support of any activity that may get him more fame and disciples so his support is up for the highest bidder, as he can be bought and sold as the need arises.
Unless we, as a society, develop an ethos which sees this type of separatist activity as abhorrent to our aims and objects as a international society of Vaiṣṇavas, we will never be able to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teaching and instructions regarding the development of our ISKCON society.
ISKCON has fallen into Kali’s trap and has degraded into a society that lacks any clear identity as to who and what is an ISKCON devotee. We have the Rubber Stamped Guru Club disciples believing that they are ISKCON devotees when their gurus have their own private organizations and institutions such as Sivarama Swami with his Hungarian Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Then we have Radhanatha Swami with his numerous privately owned Temples and Projects acting as if they are bona fide ISKCON and their disciples also believe that they are truly ISKCON devotees under Śrīla Prabhupāda while none of his projects and Temples are in ISKCON;s name.
Then we have the many Prabhupāda Loyalists who cannot practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness under the direct authority and teachings of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda – who have no place in the institution of ISKCON which includes the many temples and projects.
This dichotomy only serves to destabilize and fragment our ISKCON society. The Gurus will never give up their guru franchises and the BBT will never cease changing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books and the MVT will never give the profit for the regular sevā puja of the Presiding Deities of Śrī Vṛndāvan and Śrī Māyāpura Dhamas and we will never bend our knees to these traitorous rascals who are intentionally destroying our ISKCON Vaiṣṇava Society.
Actually the ball rests in our court… It is up to us to collectively throw off these rascals by exposing their betrayal of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The Ksatriyas need to step forward and take a role in this renaissance otherwise these Kali chelas will ruin everything that Śrīla Prabhupāda has given us.
How that manifests is something that time will tell. However this will only occur once our members recognize that it is entirely possible for Ksatriyas to be a part of our ISKCON society. Everybody should act according to their psychophysical nature and not according to their perceived nature. Not everyone who has surrendered to our society is a Brāhmaṇa.
90% of the population is Sudra, 5% Vaisya, 3% Ksatriya and only 2% Brāhmaṇa. So there is more of a chance that there are untrained Ksatriyas in our society that have not been recognized by their qualities and given service accordingly.
These GBC and Rubberstamped Gurus do not want to divide our society according to qualities and roles but keep us all homogenized as one group of pseudo Brāhmiṇs which we are obviously not. For if we did then they would be reclassified as sudras who have acted like ksatriyas and have dressed themselves as such. This is similar to Kali when he dressed in Kingly robes and was killing Dharma the bull and Mother Bhumi the cow, who as soon as a righteous Ksatriya turned up immediately disrobed and took the submissive position for ultimately they do not possess the necessary qualification to govern the people.