A Devastating Current

“The devotees who had figuratively been executed were the ones who were pretty much right in their initial criticisms of the ‘GBC’.”

The strong current of the late Seventies deviation became a river that still runs through what “ISKCON” is today. This current, although it may well have started electrocuting the movement before Srila Prabhupada departed, devastated the central nervous system of the cult in the spring of 1978. Yet, despite the eleven mahabhagavats being clearly exposed, they were allowed to remain guru in many cases and keep their so-called initiated disciples.

This bluffing and cheating was never actually confronted, and it has certainly not been eradicated from “ISKCON” since that time. All of today’s “ISKCON” gurus are cent-per-cent still connected to that original current of deviation, and none of them at all likes to be reminded of this. They severely penalized anyone who their great gurus in the beginning, and you won’t last long in the “ISKCON” movement if you remind them of it now.

In 1978, the “GBC” decided to initially employ vilification and ostracism as a kind of execution, post-dating (and neglecting) the remote possibility for any objective personnel analyses for the dissidents who said the whole thing was completely wrong. “We want authority,” as a West Coast Zonal would put it. In the room of one prominent European temple, the Zonal Acharya, immediately after he returned from the alleged appointment, drew a line on the floor.

He ordered that all temple inmates who accepted him as mahabhagavat and Acharya go to one side and all others move to the other side of that line. Those who went to the other side were asked to leave the temple. The new dispensation was not meant for being explained to the devotees in the various temples throughout the world; instead, they were simply to be told that this is the way it now is.

In effect, most of Prabhupada’s disciples had their spiritual progress in devotional life impeded by the apocalypse of 1978; their only choice was which way they wanted to go down. Some capitulated (allowing themselves to stay in the temples) and worshipped men who did not at all deserve to be worshipped. By that choice, their path to enlightenment was completely bollixed up by offensive worship.

On the other side of the coin, they were directly or indirectly forced to leave the temples because they did not believe in, or, in some cases, could not stomach, the new dispensation. Those who spoke out against the arrangement were heavily criticized within the cult. When they were tossed back out into the material world, it was a virtual spiritual death sentence for many of these devotees. In effect, most of them were hung on the rope of their latent sex desires, which would otherwise have been controlled in a bona fide ashram (and that is why Srila Prabhupada created the organizational structure he did).

The Party Men at the turn of the century were essentially not that much different from their earlier version two decades previously. By Y2K, the situation itself, however, had changed to a considerable degree. But their basic attitude had not changed. They still didn’t want to take a really close look at what they had done to the movement; they were not willing to walk back the cat. Regarding the devotees they had figuratively executed in the beginning years-the ones who, it turned out, were pretty much right in their initial criticisms of the “GBC”-those files were ancient history and conveniently considered arcane.

As long as the Party Men still controlled the temples, and as long as they all gave continuous lip service to the “ultimate managing authority” of the “GBC,” everything else could be ignored, like covered tracks at the beginning of winter. As long as they had an organized religion wherein there was still incoming revenue to keep them from having to work in the mundane world, and as long as they could showbottle well-dressed Deities, they remained complacent.

As long as they could host colorful initiation ceremonies, as long as they had a publication house, as long as they could advertise a hierarchical structure and their unique brand of institutional dogma, then they were satisfied that they could survive the influence of all the protestors, many of whom were now getting a bit long in the tooth.

After all, history is decided by the winners, and they were still on the side that appeared to be winning.

As far as righting all the wrongs they had perpetrated was concerned, that was never allowed to even cross the minds of the Party Men. In order to right those wrongs, it would have to be done at a radical level–and that was out of the question!

And as far as the devotees they had branded, well, those fellows must have gotten what they deserved, because not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme. This was the attitude, and that remained unchanged from the time of the “eleven heartbeats” of pure devotional service.


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