From Time Immemorial

December, 2017

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

First of a Two-Part Series

“So, this is not a new system that we are introducing or manufacturing by our concocted imagination, but it is authorized, coming down by disciplic succession from time immemorial. It may be that, in this country, it is being introduced for the last two or three years, but this system is the oldest system, oldest system . . .”
Platform Lecture, 7-29-68 in Montreal

“Gauòéya Vaiñëava means the followers of Caitanya Mahäprabhu. There are four Vaiñëava sampradäya originally . . . the four sampradäya is coming from time immemorial. So, we belong to the Brahmä sampradäya, the Gauòéya-sampradäya.”
Platform Lecture, 3-4-75 in Dallas

“It is perfect knowledge that was taught by Lord Kåñëa to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukñetra, and we receive information from it that, in previous ages, Çré Kåñëa also taught it to the sun-god Vivasvän, and it was handed down from time immemorial from Vivasvän by disciplic succession.”
Elevation to Kåñëa Consciousness, Chapter One

It is a peculiarity within post-modern civilization—not only in the West, but also in the East—that the unchangeable importance of the eternal transcendental teachings of the sampradäya, perfect knowledge of Absolute Truth disseminated from the beginning of universal creation, has been either minimized (to the point of near oblivion) or completely neglected. This is a manifestation of the inventing spirit of modern and post-modern man. We are only truly initiated into real knowledge when it comes to us from the sampradäya, but disregard of its perfect teachings and authorized process is prominent at this time.

We need look no further for the root cause of this malady than recognition that an apa-sampradäya–an imitation school known as “ISKCON”–is determined to push its own version of the inventing spirit in relation to the sampradäya. It does so, of course, in the name of disciplic succession, and it does so via international centers of influence. The dreadful repercussions of its pretense, promulgated through thick layers of mäyikä make-show—so-called bhakti-yoga–are immeasurable; they have very effectively covered the Gauòéya Vaiñëava perfect teachings. When a branch of the disciplic succession from time immemorial was still intact, as a thriving international movement during the second half of the Sixties and most of the Seventies, it was not covered–but it is now.

All emphases added for your edification and realization.

There are over twenty-seven hundred references to disciplic succession in the Folio. That alone proves how important and essential it is. This association of bona fide disciplic succession is the only means for having Lord Kåñëa infuse perfect and pure power into a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master, i.e., His direct power for the preaching of His message. The inventing spirit does something else when it poses itself as being connected to the paramparä. The test of whether or not the transcendental message being transmitted is bona fide is completely on the basis of disciplic succession. There were any number of so-called representations of disciplic succession in India before Çréla Prabhupäda came to America in the mid-Sixties, and new apa-sampradäyas are capable of proliferating at any time. The conditions are, once again, ripe for them to do so.

“One who understands and appreciates the disciplic succession is certainly advanced, and we should always be very careful to give full respect to those who have so carefully handled this Divine Fruit of transcendental knowledge before us. Even a slight change will spoil it.”
Letter to Hansadutta and Satsvarüpa, August, 1968

“There are four sampradäyas from the beginning of the creation. One is called Brahma sampradäya, and is coming down by disciplic succession from Brahma . . . At the present moment, there are so many sampradäyas, but we have to test them about their method of disciplic understanding.”
Letter to Upendra, 2-13-68

“If you immediately become guru, then the service activities will be stopped . . . as there are many cheap gurus and cheap disciples, without any substantial knowledge, and manufacturing new sampradäyas, and with service activities stopped, and all spiritual progress choked up. You have already mentioned one such non-bona fide sampradäya, Jaya Krishna sampradäya.”
Letter to Acyutänanda, 8-21-68

The conditions were ripe for new apa-sampradäyas to emerge back in the late Seventies and throughout the Eighties. Now, three of them appear to be representations of disciplic succession, but they are all, in different ways, representatives of a changed message. They have all changed the process, and have warped the history of what actually transpired in the branch, especially after Prabhupäda left the scene. Two of them are imitation schools, and one of them is a false school. Their gurus or leaders claim to be linked to the disciplic succession coming from Lord Brahma, but no such link is possessed by any of them.

Disciplic Succession: The Right Perspective

“The devotees are submissive, and therefore the transcendental knowledge descends from the Personality of Godhead to Brahmä and from Brahmä to his sons and disciples in succession. This process is helped by the Supersoul within such devotees. That is the perfect way of learning transcendental knowledge.”
Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 1.2.21, purport

“Paripaçyati means that he can see everything in its right perspective. Then the influence of material nature becomes almost nil.”
Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 3.25.18, purport

“In comparison to all these dogmatic principles, our . . . movement presents everything in the right perspective, even from scientific and philosophical point of view.”
Letter to Çyämasundara, 6-3-69

Attaining the right perspective in spiritual life entails gradual purification of the heart. It also entails change of character. It means overcoming false personality within the astral body. Such right perspective does not take place abruptly and must be developed over time. Nevertheless, although attained progressively and considering the current situation, a progressive perspective (previous to a perfect one) is now required. We need to attain the long view of the disciplic succession in Kåñëa consciousness. This means rejecting current false manifestations as having any intrinsic value simply because some congregational chanting and worship of the Deity is present in them. Being enamored by the reality of the moment stifles the development of right perspective, and, as a result, we think something big to be small and vice-versa.

From one perspective, the astral personality is all false personality; this is certainly the case from the ultimate point of view. Essence, which is a covering of the spiritual self subtler than the astral covering determines the character of an individual. From a limited perspective, it can be considered closer to the self–but it is not the self. At the same time, due to bad association—be it with influential conditioned souls, wrong or mistaken knowledge, degraded books, music, or art—the majority of people in both the West and the East develop an externalized false personality (persona) different from their actual astral interests, values, and qualities—and usually incompatible with their essence, as well.

This transpires in a most insidious, powerful, and seemingly irreversible way by association with the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, where all spiritual and devotional progress is choked up. Such association changes external personality, and a newcomer develops interests, values, and qualities that are not really his or hers but which are superimposed. Previous values and qualities, some of which brought them to Kåñëa consciousness in the first place, are covered. “ISKCON” is in the business of creating false personalities who remain loyal to it, identify with it, and become attached to it.

If you were previously one of these people, then, if you have escaped its clutches, there came internally a divine moment of benediction when you finally realized that you actually had no interest in it and wanted nothing more to do with it. While under the thralldom of “ISKCON” association and values, it is impossible to develop the right perspective about the disciplic succession or an accurate perspective of just what “ISKCON” is in relation to it. “ISKCON,” while you are in it, appears to be a very big thing, but actually it is very small, insignificant, and evanescent as far as the guru-paramparä is concerned.

It is fated to be crushed, because Lord Caitanya’s movement, in its pure form, is destined by Providence to become influential in every town and village throughout the world during this Golden Age. “ISKCON” is simply delaying that spread. When the real Kåñëa consciousness movement finally does emerge—and this may or may not transpire during our lifetimes—it will create in its wake spiritual personalities. Those devotees will transcend false personality and change their character for the better. Thus, they will attain the right perspective, and some of them will then become eligible to receive the order, becoming regular gurus.

Concerning the Monitor Guru

“He must not take on unlimited disciples. This means that a candidate who has successfully followed the first twelve items can also become a spiritual master himself, just as a student becomes a monitor in class with a limited number of disciples.”
Easy Journey to Other Planets, Chapter One

“When I order, ‘You become guru,’ he becomes regular guru, that’s all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That’s it.”
Room Conversation with the G.B.C., 5-28-77 in Våndävana

“ . . . but anyone who follows the principles of such ever-liberated persons is as good as one in the above mentioned group. The gurus from nature’s study are accepted as such . . . A person who is liberated äcärya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are persons who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and äcärya by strictly following the disciplic succession.”
Letter to Janärdan, 4-26-68

Although His Divine Grace never directly used the term “monitor guru,” he did use the term (as evidenced above) “regular guru.” He also used the phrase “guru from nature’s study.” The madhyam-adhikäré is described by these terms. All three of these terms refer to the same thing: A spiritual master who, although not yet liberated, can still act in the capacity of dékñä-guru. He can do it only because Prabhupäda has authorized it by ordering him to do so. He has no business imitating the uttama-adhikäré, in no small part, because he is still engaged in sädhana bhakti, i.e., he still must follow rules and regulations.

Every sincere and serious sädhaka wants to follow the perfect person, the äcärya, the siddha. Others who are not on that level—not anywhere near that level, to be more exact—may be helpful to some extent and accepted as guides. If they have remained submissive, then their experience under the authority of the äcärya allows them to provisionally lead.

Nevertheless, Prabhupäda must always be kept in the center by all of his disciples. Indeed, even though Prabhupäda deprecated the Räma Krishna Mission (and especially its founder and his chief disciple) in so many ways, he did praise it in one way: It kept its äcärya in the center. Prabhupäda wanted his advanced devotees to keep him in the center at all of the temples, while each of them maintained their own preaching missions.

The current äcärya of our sampradäya is now a departed äcärya. This has taken place before, as evidenced by Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkur being listed next in the line after the already departed Narottama däs Öhäkur. They never met, because they could not have met on the physical plane. There is no need to focus upon the next äcärya at this time; he will appear as scheduled. That will be a very, very big event. There is, instead, need to consider the emergence of the next madhayam-adhikäré in our branch.

Spiritual masters from nature’s study function in geographical arenas, and that is acceptable. As such, they can also be called provincial gurus, and there is no fault in that. The monitor guru is himself still a student. In American university systems (your author had direct experience of this), they are called teaching assistants. They are called TAs, but they are still students working under the professor of a given course study. They conduct classes on his behalf, and they are responsible for determining the final grade of his students. Nevertheless, he has to sign off on that grade. In summation, they are servants of the professor, but they cannot deliver any lecture to all of his students in the auditorium.

They are experienced to some degree and thus capable of helping a new student in the philosophical and practical aspects of the course’s teachings. As per this analogy, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda was and is the professor, and the monitor guru is his authorized representative to initiate new students. The monitor guru is not a giant like the professor, i.e., he does not have that comprehensive grasp of the curriculum and all of the teachings as does the professor. Still, he has enough to perfectly represent the professor, who, himself, perfectly represents the overall course curriculum that has been handed down for decades at every major university in America.

He is a guru. He is not a rittvik.The monitor guru does not accept opulent worship. He does not allow his initiated disciples to praise him as they glorify the Äcärya, who every initiated disciple keeps in the center. Thus, unity of the movement remains intact.

Clouded by personal ambitions, the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats ignored this system. Actually, none of them was qualified to be a regular guru or monitor guru nor did they want to function in that way. With hearts contaminated by profit, adoration, distinction, and power, they did their own thing after Prabhupäda departed. They had, to some extent, remained servants during his physical manifestation (although that was also waning badly as the years went by), but that service attitude was completely tossed aside by those men in the late Seventies, soon after the Äcärya departed.

A genuine madhyam-adhikäré would not be attracted to any of the mäyä that the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats got embroiled in. “ISKCON,” at that time, was thus converted into a house that few wanted to live in, and it is now a dying institution. All of the eleven were entangled in the major deviations of the late Seventies, and, as such, there has been so much justifying and covering up and further dissembling. Still, with today’s INTERNET access, devotees can scrutinize the history of the movement—what it was and what it has become—and the current set-up is then seen to be very doubtful.

How could it not be? Even if some of the current “ISKCON” gurus appear to be monitor gurus or regular gurus or provincial gurus, they all remain part of the chain stemming from the zonal äcärya era. Indeed, at least three of today’s institutional gurus were originally one of the eleven zonals. Guru reform in this connection is but another subterfuge. The root was rotten, and some of those who constituted it are still accepted as initiating gurus in “ISKCON.” That alone disqualifies all of its other so-called regular gurus.

The mission has been contaminated since the spring of 1978, and it is incumbent upon all disciples and followers of Çréla Prabhupäda to see it for what it is, see it in the accurate way, and not fall for any of the revised history that serves to justify the current iteration. Monitor means on behalf of the Professor. Only can unity be once again achieved and maintained when all preaching endeavors are conducted on behalf of the Professor, on behalf of the Äcärya, on behalf of the guru-paramparä. Currently, such is not at all the case in connection to “ISKCON.” It never will be.

Equivalent to a Ten-Megaton Bomb

Who authorized? Another rascal, that’s all.”
Morning Walk, 11-11-75 in Bombay

“I have seen on the new books printed that, on the spine of the jacket, the words ‘Bhaktivedänta Book Trust’ have been omitted. Formerly, they were there on all the books. It is understood from Rämeçvara that you removed these words. Why did you do this? Who authorized it? Did Bali Mardan authorize it? These things must be there.”
Letter to Jayadvaita, 12-2-74

All changed, changed utterly.”

Who or what authorized the hundreds of book changes to Bhagavad-gétä? Who or what authorized eleven conditioned souls to become pretender mahäbhägavats, accepting worship as such for almost a decade—and even from their godbrothers and godsisters? Who or what authorized the Äcärya Board? Often without books being distributed during such grifts, who or what authorized the cheating methods utilized for revenue collection? Who or what authorized all the compromises to accommodate Hindoos and their hefty donations? Who or what authorized guru-by-vote? Who or what authorized guru-by-no-three-blackballs? Who or what authorized the current concoction, the No Objection Certificate?

If a ten-megaton bomb were to air burst above Los Angeles, the devastation would be immeasurable. The negative repercussions would wreck havoc throughout the United States for many decades after such a cataclysm. America would immediately crater into an unprecedented economic depression as consumer confidence would plummet, compounded by widespread panic and radioactive fallout for many years. The country’s whole character would be negatively impacted, while looting and raiding, along with murder and mayhem, would become widespread in some areas, mostly unchecked.

The equivalent to such a holocaust took place in Çréla Prabhupäda’s branch of the Kåñëa consciousness movement during late March, 1978. You require this perspective, and the analogy used here is appropriate. The “ISKCON” egregor, in conjunction with the personality of Kali, is now continuing the devastation that was wrought upon the devotional community just short of forty years ago.

Due to a combination of many factors, the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats were able to pull off their scam for about a decade, and the after-effects have not been overcome. As far as “ISKCON” is concerned, the pulse underlying those effects are not meant to be transcended, because the transformations made in the aftermath of the zonal äcärya era have all led to the current situation. There are many powerful vested interests who like things just the way they are, and these people are its chief beneficiaries, of course. From their warped point of view, everything is quite alright now.

That should not be your perspective, however. Everything in that deviated community remains heavily contaminated, dumbed down, and degraded just as would be the case in a major American city, forty years later, after having had a ten-megaton nuclear bomb dropped over it. Always remember that, whatever current paradigm is in the ascendant, it is enforced by both leadership and communal pressure just like all of the previous ones. The zonal äcärya scam was enforced, of course, but now it no longer has any precedence and thus has very little, if any, direct influence. Yet, the same pulse runs through the current ecclesiological paradigm that pervades “ISKCON,” just as radioactive particles, despite a diminishing half-life, continue to harm those in the area of the atomic air burst who accidentally swallow them even decades later.

Against All Odds and Opposition

Acyutänanda: In most books about Hinduism, they describe that Hinduism is a cult where they worship many gods and ultimately God is formless. . . So, we are against that. Then we are not Hindus even philosophically according to that.
Prabhupäda: Yes. We are against all so-called cheating religion. The Hinduism is also a cheating religion.
Morning Walk, 1-8-76 in Nellore, India

“ . . . still, for a preacher, he has to do something against all odds. That is preaching. You cannot expect favorable position. . . you cannot expect that, wherever you are going, you’ll find favorable situation . . . (t)hat you must understand, but you have to preach, you have to create favorable situation.”
Room Conversation, 8-10-76 in Teheran, Iran

“For our parts, we should just be determined to carry out our mission against all opposition, demons, nuclear war, whatever.”
Letter to Makhanläl, 6-22-73

Against all odds and opposition entails the principle of confronting enemies, both within and without what appears to be the Kåñëa movement. Anyone who is against the perfect Vaiñëava teachings, anything or anyone which or who has deviated from what was (and remains) authorized by the previous äcärya, that entity or individual is inimical to the Kåñëa consciousness movement. This includes any and all sahajiyä cults and their apa-sampradäyas, even those in the guise of serving the order of the previous äcärya. This perspective is required, and an intellectual attitude conducive to it must be developed.

Yet, since it is Kali-yuga, the principle underlying this perspective is seldom attained by devotees today, especially those bewildered by external manifestations. The ramifications of such a lack of perspective are tough on everybody. By not seeing how the confrontation principle is being played out at this time, the mass of mixed devotees interpret wrongly which devotees are genuine and which are not. They mistake those who criticize sahajiyä cults and apa-sampradäyas as being demoniac for doing so. They mistake a cheating religion as the real thing, bewildered by temple rituals, festive displays, passionate kirtans, big collection statistics, hierarchical power, and sclerotic ecclesiology.

They thus neglect the most important feature of spiritual science by such lack of perspective, and this neglect includes the final orders of the previous Äcärya, His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda. They are unable to properly apply the devotional law that any major deviation from those orders automatically nullifies any and all later secondary manifestations and apparent accomplishments. They disregard and minimize the principle that a guru cannot be a cheater and thus that he cannot be an institutional guru or a Party Man.

From time immemorial, no spiritual master in our line of guru-paramparä has been in defiance of the previous äcärya. No genuine spiritual master in the line of Gauòéya disciplic succession has ever been even slightly implicated in the institutional deviations of any kind by a wayward cult. When such a dumbed-down organization or institution validates its own institutional gurus, you must immediately know that any so-called spiritual masters it puts forward are bogus. We oppose each and every one of them, and so should you.

Questions and Answers

Isn’t the personality of a conditioned soul all false personality?

As mentioned a bit earlier, it can be considered so from the ultimate perspective, but what else does a conditioned soul have to work with? The initial process is to dovetail his interests, values, qualities, and propensities in the service of the spiritual master. Of course, many of these cannot be dovetailed, but some of them certainly can be. Misuse of a great science or process does not render it useless.

The personality stems from the false ego in the astral body, and it works through both the intellectual level as well as the mental (mind) level, which is supposed to be controlled by the intelligence. The personality is one, but it is subject to change. Its many variations—and especially the contradictions between and amongst its variations—are clusters of features stemming from the false ego of the astral body. They appear to be separate personalities, but they are not. Some of them are useful in the sädhana-bhakti stage, some are useless, and some are entirely inimical to the process.

The guru encourages his disciple to dovetail the useful clusters (what Jung would call complexes), and, in the evolution of the spiritual and devotional process, better complexes will thus be developed. Those are highly useful from their very creation. The personality of the astral being thus evolves, but his basic personality remains for some time.

The personality (as differentiated from false personality) can be considered real, and its tastes (affinities), qualities, interests, and values similarly real. False personality, from this perspective, works through clusters of features which were incidentally picked up due to bad association, wrong reading material, degraded lyrics in music, bogus gurus and their followers, and the contaminated environment of Kali-yuga in general. It is a complicated topic, and every astral body varies from personality to personality.

The personality of the astral body, free from the false personality grafted on to it over time, is real but temporary. The spirit soul’s svarüpa-siddhi is his personality in the spiritual world of spiritual planets. That personality is revealed much later in the bhakti process.

What is the chief flaw in “ISKCON”?

The chief flaw is its chief feature: Institutional gurus. Another way of saying the same thing is that the chief flaw in “ISKCON” is that its gurus are not spiritual masters. If they were, all of the other problems in that cult could be solved, most of them quickly. The negative ramifications and repercussion of all the “ISKCON” gurus being bogus gurus pervades every aspect of the organization. Despite paradigm modifications over the years, this has always been the chief feature within that institution since the spring of 1978.

Does association with “ISKCON” not only change personality but also essence?

First of all, we must consider the depth of any such association. Devotees on the fringe, or those who do not regularly take part in temple programs or live in any of the temples, generally do not even experience any personality changes whatsoever. In order to have personality overlaid by “ISKCON” qualities, interests, and values, there must be some determined commitment to “ISKCON,” along with close association with others who are powerful enough to inculcate personality features (and their complexes) within a newcomer’s astral body. That certainly does take place for them, as could only be expected.

Can “ISKCON” change essence? It can only do so if the newcomer has assimilated the “ISKCON” béja, because it works on the essential plane. The answer to the question is provisionally in the affirmative, because many newcomers accept initiation from the institutional gurus of “ISKCON” and thus are infected by the “ISKCON” béja. As we have pointed out, it is not necessary to undergo a ceremony in order to receive that béja, as it can be passed simply by association previous to tossing bananas and rice into a fire.

Tainted Love

“Just try to understand what is spiritual bliss. You do not. The sahajiyäs, they accept this material bliss as spiritual bliss. That is called sahajiyä. Don’t be sahajiyäs. Try to understand according to çästra.”
Platform lecture, 7-20-73 in London

Prabhupäda: Kåñëa and Kåñëa’s word are not different. If you find it different, then you have no eyes to see. Kåñëa is absolute. When I quote Kåñëa’s word, that means Kåñëa.
Initiated disciple: But everyone sees it as different.
Prabhupäda: Because he is a rascal. He has to become a sane man, then he will see. It requires tapasya. It is not so easy. That is called sahajiyä. Why you want such exalted things so easily?
Room Conversation, 7-8-76 in Washington, D.C.

“ . . . for whom is he doing the initiation?? For himself? Are the initiates his property, his personal servant, his fans (fanatics)–just as movie stars and pop stars have fans?”
Hansadutta däs, Çréla Prabhupäda, His Movement and You

The relationship of a genuine disciple and his bona fide spiritual master is special. It is not easy to attain, and sometimes it is difficult to keep. There is spiritual bliss present in that relationship from the beginning, usually as a result of the disciple performing tapasya in carrying out his duty to the satisfaction of the spiritual master. The bona fide guru is always linked to Lord Kåñëa, so his words are what the Supreme Lord wishes to communicate to the disciple at the time. In that way, the genuine guru—even at the preliminary stage of his qualification—is non-different from the Lord.

When the preliminary stage of pure devotion is attained, an otherwise dormant emotional center in the heart is opened to some extent, even though that guru is not yet liberated. This allows for an exchange of love with his disciple, which is also special. How much it is or is not active and utilized is completely up to the guru. Although that can be based on time, place, and circumstances, it is often also based upon the demeanor, qualities, and personality of the disciple. The guru can be as hard as a thunderbolt or as soft as a rose—and some disciples get more roses than others.

Obviously, there must be (and there is) a perverted reflection of this exchange of mellows in such a relationship, but even that reflection creates a rope of affection between the so-called guru and his disciple. The perverted reflection is evident in the love-bombing practiced by the institutional gurus of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. It is quite a difficult bond to escape, so the best recourse is to never get roped into it.

When the eleven pretender mahäbhägavats did their own thing in the late Seventies and early to mid-Eighties, their hard-core disciples clung to them—despite ever-increasing evidence that they should not have done so—mostly due to the rope of affection that had been created between those powerful men and their initiated disciples. All of those zonals were able to love-bomb most of their disciples quite effectively, and some of those new gurus became adepts at the technique. That should not be at all surprising, because they regularly practiced such methods of control previous to Prabhupäda’s departure.

As you all should know, it is still going on. There are still some “ISKCON” gurus—even though they are institutional—who are worshiped by many of their disciples as if they were the spiritual equivalent of rock stars. Not all “ISKCON” gurus lack personal charisma; indeed, a few of them have quite a bit of it. Their emotionally-driven disciples have clouded intelligence in terms of determining what is spiritual and what is material. Nevertheless, most of them don’t care rat spit about the power of deliberation, because they are all in with their guru. This syndrome if found in “ISKCON.” It is in your best interest to develop the long-term perspective of what constitutes a bona fide manifestation of the guru-paramparä and thus scrupulously avoid all such sahajiyä entanglements of tainted love completely.

Proceed to Part Two


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