Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa- Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham: There are many misconceptions within our ISKCON institution which need to be addressed so that we can better understand the manner in which we as devotees interact with each other. We often hear that we, as aspiring devotees, must never judge or criticize another aspiring devotee and that to judge or to criticize is wrong and offensive. The application of these terms have however been intentionally misapplied by the FISKCON leaders and their Apologists to indoctrinate their followers to fear to use their common sense to form an opinion on any FISKCON leader, especially any FISKCON Guru.
The use of fear or terror to gain conformity is a very common tactic of authoritarian fascist regimes and must not be allowed to continue to be acculturated into our Vaiṣṇava community. Governments especially Zionist led Marxist Communist Governments, use fear and terror to subjugate and rule the people of their respective countries. People under this form of authoritarian regime live in fear of speaking out against any corruption, person, policy or program of the state.
Fear and terror has been so well acculturated into our ISKCON society that most devotees fear to perform even a rudimentary assessment of their guru’s behavior or level of spiritual advancement. They fear hearing any evidence that suggests that their guru is engaged in any wrongdoing for to hear any evidence no matter how conclusive, may lead them to question their guru’s qualification which in their minds is a cardinal sin.
The peer pressure is so great within the various guru groupie clubs of our society that disciples are held tightly in the neutralizing psychological and emotional restraints of peer pressure which forces them into social conformity simply by the misapplication of terms…
However these terms have been used in a pejorative sense in other words to criticize or judge is bad or evil. Devotees believe that critical analysis or forming judgments on others is evil / bad / offensive and therefore they must put aside their intelligence and common sense and listen / hear and accept what their institutionally given authority teaches or what their ‘guru groupie peers’ has instilled in them in order to be a ‘good’ disciple.
To question or doubt this means that you are a ‘bad’ devotee and subjected to peer pressure aimed at conformity to the guru groupie club at the expense of their intelligence, moral value system, common sense and in many cases overwhelming evidence.
For clarification following is an insight into the correct and broader understanding of the terms the various apologists of FISKCON, intentionally misapply, in order to produce guru groupie conformity along with creating a dichotomy or a polarity between the GBC the Rubber Stamped Gurus and their groupie disciples/apologists and the rest of our International Vaiṣṇava Society.
Terms such as:
1. Critical – Is a term which infers that one makes a careful evaluation and judgment.
2. Criticize – To criticize is to find either real or perceived fault in someone. There are two types of criticism.
a) negative (or destructive) criticism which is an assessment meant to harm or discredited something or someone and;
b) Positive (or constructive) criticism which is an assessment of something or someone with a view to improve.
One can criticize or be critical of someone or something but this does not imply that it is negative or destructive it is dependent on ones motive or intention. In our everyday lives we are constantly engaged in making critical assessments of situations and seeking ways in which to understand various things and situations so that we can make an appropriate decision for our daily lives.
For example when we sit down to take prasadam and we cast our eyes over our meal we make a critical assessment over what is suitable to our palate and what is not. If we see some preparation which is not to our liking we may make a decision to eat it last or leave it on the plate. Or we may even request that it is not served to us when it is being distributed.
Due to our training in Kṛṣṇa consciousness we have been taught to ‘discriminate’ or to make a critical assessment between what is good for our spiritual life and what is a hindrance. A non devotee or a devotee engaged in mixed devotional service [most of us] makes a decision based on their palate or taste preference whereas an aspiring Vaiṣṇava sees all that he has been served as prasadam of the Lord and relishes it regardless of what his personal preference may be.
Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth. [BG.10.4-5]
Satyam is truthfulness as Śrīla Prabhupāda says, means that the facts should be presented as they are and yet the various FISKCON apologists in their various forms, be they GBC members, Rubber Stamped Gurus, their disciples or followers – wish to see that any opposition to their ideologies as being negatively / destructively critical or malicious lies. There is no room for debate or evidence; whether it is from śāstra or circumstance – that will change their minds. To them anyone who is exposing or discussing any wrongdoing of a guru is bad / evil / offensive or lying.
It is from this premise that the FISKCON apologist ‘sees’ their world and the devotees around them. This is the true meaning of blind following.
For example I heard about Prabhavisnu visiting prostitutes in Thailand soon after the news broke in the early 2000’s I then was informed that he had stopped taking new disciples due to a sanction placed on him by the GBC. He himself told his disciples and followers that he was taking a break as his disciple caseload and managerial duties were taking a toll on him and he needed a rest. Which in hindsight was a ploy to dissuade his disciples and others from seeking answers which are only natural for a follower to ask, especially in light of the fact that our understanding of a Maha Bhāgavata, from the example of Śrīla Prabhupāda – who up until his last breath preached and instructed his disciples.
For all well over a decade it was almost impossible to hold a normal pragmatic honest and intelligent conversation with anyone on the possibility that the information regarding Prabhavisnu’s exposure and possible lack of spiritual adhikāra, what to speak of his bona fides in order to hold the position of a Sannyāsa Guru. Now of course it has been exposed and he has admitted some of the truth of his illicit sexual affairs it is possible to discuss his situation. Well to most devotees, with the exception of his former disciples who have chosen to remain in ignorance and denial.
Had he been honest by self assessment via being constructively critical of his actual level of realization and surrender to Śrīla Prabhupāda and Lord Kṛṣṇa he would have stepped down from his institutional positions as Sannyāsī Guru of FISKCON when he made the first decision to seek sexual release? However if he was really honest with himself and he was chaste to Śrīla Prabhupāda he would never have accepted any position requiring spiritual adhikara in the first place.
Apaiśunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life. Hré means that one should be very modest and must not perform some act which is abominable.[BG.16.1-3]
The idea of faultfinding or the tending to find and call attention to faults in something or someone can also be a negatively / destructively critical process or it can be a positively / constructively critical process. As we can learn from Śrīla Prabhupāda above to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding. As aspiring Vaiṣṇava’s we are taught that we must learn to discriminate between good association and bad association in the people and devotees around us. In order to do this there must be a process of critical analysis conducted on each person who enters into our social sphere. This is not faultfinding it is intelligent and necessary in order not to be cheated or unnecessarily disturbed by others. So the idea that many FISKCON apologists are promoting within our ISKCON society that to look at a Rubber Stamped Guru to detect any obvious faults, such as sexual fall down, is wrong / sinful / evil / offensive and faultfinding is ridiculously unintelligent and disingenuous.
4. Judge / judging:
Another misquoted term meant to stop or subvert or suppress any analytical critical assessment of the wayward upper echelon of our ISKCON society is the misuse of the term ‘judge.’ How often have we heard this term used as a defense mechanism to arrest any attempt to disclose or expose any wrongdoing of the Gurus.
Prabhupāda: No, judgment is there everywhere. Unless there is judgment, how you can discriminate, “This is spiritual; this is material”? Judgment must be there for intelligent person. Otherwise how you can distinguish? We are distinguishing every moment–“This is good. This is bad”–in the relative world. So there is judgment. So God–the supreme judge. So as soon as there is question of judgment, then what is our position? There must be good and bad, so that if we have lived a very nice, good life, then by the judgment of God we get better position. And if we have not done so, then you get degraded position. Therefore, for human being it is very sanguine to understand how we are going to be judged by the Supreme. So if we are following the rules and regulation given by God, then the judgment will be better. And if we are not following the laws, the judgment will not be in favor. This is natural to conclude. Then we have to judge what is sin, what is piety, how to be pious, how one becomes sinful. So many things will come. [Room Conversation with Yoga Student March 14, 1975, Iran]
As a Brahminical Movement we are meant to make judgments in our daily lives. The only Vaiṣṇava who does not is one on the uttama adhikāra platform who sees everything and everyone as being related to Kṛṣṇa. However should the uttama adhikāra devotee need to preach they come down to the madhyama adhikāra platform where they discriminate and teach others to discriminate between what and who is favorable and what and who is unfavorable to the development of one’s spiritual life.
To falsely act on the platform of an uttama adhikāra devotee of the Lord is foolish especially when one attempts to use śāstra as a weapon to protect themselves or others who are engaging in wrongdoing.
Allen Ginsberg: What is the difference between holy man and spiritual master?
Prabhupāda: No difference, but one has to test whether he is holy man. Then you have to, he has to corroborate with the statement of the scripture. Spiritual master is to be tested whether he is holy man, and whether there is corroboration in the statement of the scriptures. Sādhu śāstra guru vākya tinete koriyā aikya. Just like the law court, the experienced lawyer’s speaking and giving evidence. Sādhu-śāstra, and the judge is giving judgement, “Here is a statement, here is this lawbook.” He has (indistinct). He also testing, the judge is also testing how the lawyer is speaking, and how it is corroborates to the lawbook. So similarly everything has to be tested in that way. The scripture should be consulted, and we should have to see whether it is corroborated. So we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture. So we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture. He’s at once rejected. [Conversation Allen Greensburg: May 11, 1969]
As aspiring Vaiṣṇava devotees of the Lord we are required to form our opinion and make decisions based on sound judgments according to guru sādhu and śāstra in our daily lives. It is a simple black and white process of decision making.
A simple easy decision / judgment to make for a sincere intelligent aspiring Vaiṣṇava is;
1. My sannyāsa guru was caught having illicit relations with a non devotee woman – therefore he has broken the regulative principle of illicit sex and his sannyāsa vow and so I cannot in good faith and intelligence accept him as my guru.
2. My guru resigned from his position as a ISKCON Guru – Therefore he is no longer my guru and so I must:
a) Accept that he has been exposed for wrongdoing and hence reject him as my guru
b) Take down his pictures from my altar
c) Stop all worship of him
d) Take shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda
The sincere and intelligent person will be able to easily make such a change in their lives for they will easily understand that the person that they had accepted as a pure devotee of the Lord cheated them, and the institution cheated them by offering the gurus to the newcomer as if they were bona fide gurus.
However in our unhealthy society they are being taught that we must not judge their guru as being engaged in any wrongdoing no matter how heinous it may be, even if they admit to it, – for to form an opinion of them, even though it is based on indisputable factual evidence, is sinful and offensive. They are taught that any decision of the GBC to accept their guru as a dīkṣā gurus / sannyāsīs is law and supersedes any sastral quote / evidence to the contrary or teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Under this disingenuous logic / illogical process; the exposed / resigned / blooped former guru must be given all credit for services rendered and they must never be criticized or rebuked in any circumstance even up to decades after their exposure and/ or leaving the association of devotees.
Kirtanananda is a prime example of this fuzzy logic where no matter how heinous, perverted and criminal his activities were and no matter how much he opposed and betrayed Śrīla Prabhupāda; the GBC, Rubber Stamped Gurus and their apologist disciples would have us think of him as still being a pure devotee who loved and served Śrīla Prabhupāda and that all through his life as a devotee and well past his death, he must be forgiven and respected. Simply because we have no right to pass any judgment on him because he was a senior disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda and a former Zonal Ācārya/Dīkṣā Guru appointed by the GBC – therefore he could do no wrong.
5. Mundane Morality
The defense that is now being incorporated in our society by the GBC and Rubber Stamped Gurus attempting to find excuses for why their Rubber Stamped Guru system is failing to provide genuine dīkṣā gurus what to speak of anyone who is on the madhyama adhikāra platform of spiritual realization is – no one can apply mundane morality onto a Rubber Stamped Guru.
“Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.” If one never for a moment forgets Kṛṣṇa, he is safe even if by chance he falls down by committing sinful acts.” [SB.6.1.19]
At first glance it sounds fine almost like it is okay for a dīkṣā guru / maha bhagavata devotee to go to prostitutes or steal money etc however this statement by Śrīla Prabhupāda refers to accidental fall down for a devotee who is engaged in devotional service and is therefore situated on the platform of at least bhava which means they have already achieved anartha nivrittih.
The devotee, in the beginning, may sometimes fall from the standard, but still he should be considered superior to all other philosophers and yogis. One who always engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be understood to be a perfectly saintly person. His accidental nondevotional activities will diminish, and he will soon be situated without any doubt in complete perfection. The pure devotee has no actual chance to fall down, because the Supreme Godhead personally takes care of His pure devotees. [BG.9.34]
Accidental fall down is considered here. If one ‘falls’ when walking then it is possible to get back up again and continue walking however if one has never even learnt to walk where is the question of falling? A child struggles hard to learn to take the next step from crawling to walking, when he walks he can learn to run. Walking in this light can be considered to bhava and running prema. However, a Baby-Walker gives the child and the onlookers the ‘idea’ that the child is actually walking but take the child out of the walker and it ends up on its tummy crawling around on the floor… A baby walker not only tricks people by giving the impression that the child is walking it also cheats the child making it believe that it is walking but in actual fact it has no idea how to walk and when the walker is taken away its true ability is revealed – FISKCON Guru. The child once on the floor cannot fall down for it is already down…
If a devotee has firm faith or niṣṭhā they will have no attraction for illicit sex or any of the other regulative principles. If someone is still engaging in illicit activity it is a tell tale sign that they are not advancing in their Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They prove their faith, niṣṭhā, in the process by the good example of not breaking the regulative principles, if they can master that they then develop taste, ruci, and from that ruci they will develop attraction or asakti for engaging in the devotional service of the Lord. Once they have attained asakti they can proceed to the bhava stage where they actually begin to do devotional service
You are actually advancing in bhakti, devotional service, then automatically you don’t like these nonsense practices. No illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication, automatically. That is the test how far you are. Anartha-nivṛtti syāt, these are anartha. Then if he is, firm faith, then ruci, taste then āsakti, attraction then bhava, then prema. [SB.7.9.7 – Māyāpura Feb 1976]
If one cannot control their sex desire or desire to make money etc they most certainly have not achieved anartha nivrittih and so the higher levels of consciousness such as bhava or prema is not within their purview. Nor is Kṛṣṇa. Nor will they be able to remember Kṛṣṇa at all times. This is no matter how much the GBC, FISKCON apologists or the disciples want it to be so…
The Rubber Stamped Guru for taking on the position of a maha bhagavata is like the above child being placed in a baby walker and so their actual level of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is hard to discern until the walker is taken away.
So the idea that to consider that pointing out moral turpitude or criminality is to perceive from a mundane morality when dealing with an institutionally appointed guru is rather desperate or can be seen as ‘clutching at straws’ or disingenuous when considering the nature of their diversionary tactics.
“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.”
When one becomes spiritually realized (brahma-bhūta), he becomes happy (prasannātmā), for he is relieved from material conceptions. One who has attained this platform is not agitated by material action and reaction. He sees everyone on the platform of spirit soul (paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]). When one is completely realized, he can rise to the platform of pure devotional service (mad-bhaktiṁ labhate param [Bg. 18.54]). When one comes to the platform of bhakti, devotional service, he automatically realizes who Kṛṣṇa is. As the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gītā [CC.Madhya.17.137]
The spiritual master is the devotee who has attained at least the bhava stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this stage one has transcended the anartha nvrittih stage and has all gross forms of anarthas removed from his heart. Therefore they may accidentally fall due to some minor allurement of māyā’s but this is most definitely not an habitual state of consciousness and should never be considered as such for at the very least it cheapens the idea of higher states of consciousness when one offensively equates regularly visiting prostitutes as accidental fall down of a pure devotee in that platform of bhava or prema…
The hypocrisy in this is that the apologist self righteously believes that their hostile aggressive vilification of anyone who criticizes / finds fault or passes judgment on their guru or their decision to accept a Rubber Stamped Guru – is perfectly normal and inoffensive. They don’t see their aggression and hostility as being severely critical / judgmental and faultfinding in any way whatsoever. In fact for most of my devotional life I hardly experienced any aggression / hostility or violence in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s loyal followers but have witnessed and been the victim of countless aggressive and hostile attacks from FISKCON apologists especially in the form of the phenomenon of the guru groupie.
They use śāstra and Śrīla Prabhupāda instructions or mandates only when it suits them and misquote with wild abandon to protect their gurus and officials at all costs. They will go to great lengths to threaten, beat up, kick out, murder, hack websites, bad mouth, vilify or use tantra to maim or kill anyone who speaks out against their illegal regime and criminal activity.
The word vitaṇḍā indicates that a debater, not touching the main point or establishing his own point, simply tries to refute the other person’s argument. When one does not touch the direct meaning but tries to divert attention by misinterpretation, he engages in chala. The word nigraha also means always trying to refute the arguments of the other party. [CC.Madhya 6.178]
They refuse to use logical debate or accept the direct meaning that Śrīla Prabhupāda has instructed or taught in this issue which displays their intention/motivation. They use śāstra and Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements to obscure their direct meaning or they use his quotes in an attempt to justify their stance.
“In Kali-yuga, mislead the people in general by propounding imaginary meanings for the Vedas to bewilder them.” These are the descriptions of the Purāṇas.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that mukhya-vṛtti (“the direct meaning”) is abhidhā-vṛtti, or the meaning that one can understand immediately from the statements of dictionaries, whereas gauṇa-vṛtti (“the indirect meaning”) is a meaning that one imagines without consulting the dictionary. For example, one politician has said that Kurukṣetra refers to the body, but in the dictionary there is no such definition. Therefore this imaginary meaning is gauṇa-vṛtti, whereas the direct meaning found in the dictionary is mukhya-vṛtti or abhidhā-vṛtti. This is the distinction between the two. [CC.Adi.7.110]
The terms – critical / criticize / judge / fault find etc can be used intelligently where there is no negative connotation or they can be used in the derogatory sense which is the language of the less intelligent. The choice is ours to make. A thief sees others and thieves. It is all about perception.
There is no fear for the sincere intelligent devotee to call a snake a snake and a rope a rope, or a thief a thief. The intelligent devotee does not seek to use śāstra in order to justify their ignorance or their bad decisions. They use śāstra to help them and others in becoming more conscious of Kṛṣṇa.
The intelligent devotees learn how to discriminate so that they won’t be cheated in a world full of cheaters whether they be the GBC, Rubber Stamped Gurus or their apologist disciples…