The Next Black Swan

June, 2018

First of a Two-Part Series

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

“These things must be cleared up or there may be danger of split within our ranks. Try to keep the whole situation in unified condition. But if Siddha Svarüpa and his disciples are living there separately and peacefully, I have no objection, so long there is no controversy or ill feelings between their camp and yours.”
Letter to Madhudvéña, 12-29-72

“Çréla Prabhupäda wanted us to do everything in complete cooperation, and thus I am inclined to have full cooperation in this great attempt of preaching in the foreign countries. All the camps of our various camps may at least cooperate . . .”
Letter to Mädhava Maharäj, 8-1-66

Realities are determined by whoever determines them.”
Timothy Leary, “Quark of the Decade”

There is a specter haunting “ISKCON,” the specter of a perfect man.

Within the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, there is a split. It centers around the priority of guru as opposed to the priority of the institution. Not as well recognized, a version of the same split is also present within Rittvik, since at least one rittvik is highly charismatic, possessing a magnetic hold over those he (allegedly) initiates as Prabhupäda disciples. Most other rittviks emphasize that organization or institution must be the most important. These competing perceptions have morphed into “realities” within the factions, and that will prove more than a bit problematic for both of them in due course.

In India, during the third week of February, 1976 (while the ISKCON movement was still bona fide), His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda one morning called two of his sannyäsés to his room. He requested them to visit a nearby Gouòéya Mutt in order to speak to its leaders on his behalf. He wanted those godbrothers to join his mission, specifically to engage in village preaching in that area. Most of his devotees did not speak the local language, but the members of the Mutt did, and ISKCON funds could subsidize this proposal.

He was envisioning united preaching which went beyond simply begging the public for money to support sectarian centers. The Gouòéya temples were dwindling, but, if their leaders joined Prabhupäda’s ISKCON movement, that could be reversed. His sannyäsés stated that Indians were not interested in his message, but money was the honey. Prabhupäda concurred. He directly stated that he was the Guru of the Americans and was very wealthy as a result of being such a spiritual master.

The Mutt gave no favorable response to his request, and such was practically the case whenever Prabhupäda proposed anything to them, either directly or indirectly. It should have been clear by then that the leaders of Gouòéya Mutt did not accept Prabhupäda’s status as a perfect man, empowered to preach the message of Lord Caitanya.

Still, a couple of them came to visit Prabhupäda later that day. They indicated that some kind of arrangement might be made if Prabhupäda first provided financial assistance to their Mutts. It is doubtful that he agreed to that, but it is certain his reaching out to them for a unified preaching effort never materialized. Why? Because they could not recognize him for who he was and the superiority of his empowerment. Their version of “reality” about him was locked in, and the fate of their mission was thus determined accordingly.

The Mission, the Institution, and the Guru

One day you shall become also guru and make more students, more students, more. . . Yes, one should remain perpetually a student, but he has to act as guru. That is the mission of Caitanya Mahäprabhu. It is not that because I am acting as guru, I am no longer student. No, I am still student.”
Platform Lecture, 12-10-76 in Hyderabad, India

“If I have one or two sincere souls like you, and if we can make more publications, then our mission will be a great success. I am prepared to sit down underneath a tree with one sincere soul and, in such activity, I shall be free from all diseases.”
Letter to Brahmänanda, 10-11-67

“(W)e got petitions from . . . dozens of men named Ian and over a dozen women named Ianna and Illeana. We ran out of ‘I’ names, even from the entire spectrum . . . I went to Prabhupäda and told him the problem. ‘Can we name someone ISKCON Däs?’ ‘No’ he snapped back. I told my godbrother that the acronym ISKCON can’t be used as a divine name.”
Acyutänanda däs, Blazing Sädhus

The Great Ecclesiologist and his fellow Party Men continue to create their own world: They want (and will eventually demand, if they ever get the chance) more than mere cooperation from others. They want that THEIR INSTITUTION becomes not only the dominant means of spreading their version of so-called Kåñëa consciousness, but that it becomes the only means, recognized now (by choice) and in the future (by force).

Did Çréla Prabhupäda ever indicate that subservience to THE INSTITUTION was the only way to Kåñëa conscious realization? He says that Lord Caitanya’s prophesy will be fulfilled not by an institution but by a devotee. He could have said that it would be his institution that would do it. Yet, in point of fact, he indicated the distinct possibility that his institution would not even be involved in fulfilling the prophesy:

“Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu has forecast that this Hare Kåñëa mantra will be heard in every nook and cranny of the globe. He is God, so it will happen, that is a fact. So, if we take advantage, then we may take the credit, but if we do not, someone else will.”
Letter to Karändhar, 11-4-70

He says someone else: That means an empowered devotee, not an institution. Did Prabhupäda make some kind of fetish out of his ISKCON movement? He said that he was ISKCON. As such, we should understand just what he meant by that. As long as ISKCON was fulfilling his desires, not changing the message, and functioning in exactly the way that he sanctioned it to functioned, then ISKCON was his non-different extension.

No placards were created with the six letters of its acronym written on them and then placed on the altars to be worshiped. We worshiped the person of His Divine Grace, not the institution. Indeed, ISKCON, early on, was considered only a useful, corporate tool which could be discarded and dissolved if and/or when it no longer proved helpful:

“This International Society for Kåñëa Consciousness, ISKCON, is a great tool we can use to spread our Hare Kåñëa chanting. If it is not helpful, we can dissolve it.”
Acyutänanda däs, Blazing Sädhus, Room Conversation, New York City, July, 1966

The Mission is not necessarily always the same as an institution, even if THE INSTITUTION still claims to represent it. Was the Gouòéya Mutt non-different from Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasväté Prabhupäda after its 1937 schism and promotion of Änanta Väsudeva? THE INSTITUTION is meant to have no separate existence from THE MISSION. The Mission is non-different from the spiritual master who formulates, founds, and forms it. The Institution remains the same as long as it does not deviate. When it does deviate, it works against both the Founder and the Mission in the name of both of them. When it deviates, it is meant to be dissolved, as soon and effectively as possible.

Deviation is not the initial product of separate camps. Separate camps can function well within the umbrella of THE MISSION. When an institution deviates, there will soon appear factions warring against one another. The Institution, through its higher echelon beneficiaries of the deviation–and their fanatics–will cry “Unity!” That reactionary cry is saturated with hypocrisy, because, when an institution deviates, it automatically creates centrifugal momentum. This principle is usually not well understood.

THE MISSION of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu is to spread the chanting of the Holy Name in order to create pure devotees, who, by definition, will also be Vaiñëava gurus. No sane mixed devotees or neophytes can possibly object to this statement. If pure devotees are madhyama-adhikärés, they also remain students as regular gurus. Their behavior must demonstrate that they remain under sädhana regulation while they initiate disciples, bringing those new devotees into a connection with the disciplic succession. The Institution is simply meant to facilitate THE PURPOSE, which, again, is non-different from THE MISSION. THE MISSION trumps all, and the uttama-adhikäré is its Professor.

Çästra remains the center, of course, and the initiating spiritual master must be in complete harmony with çästra. He does not preach differently from it. He does not deviate from it. The sädhus, the çikñä-gurus, and the priests assist the newly-initiated disciples. They also guide it rightly and recognize that çästra is the center. THE MISSIONis the manifestation of çästra, because çästra is the manifestation of the disciplic succession, i.e., THE MISSION spreads the message, power, and divinity of the disciplic succession.

Full cooperation with it is mandated and always wanted. When The Institution deviates, it still demands such cooperation, but it does not DESERVE it. No one should cooperate with an institution after it has deviated, as most certainly has been the case of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation.

Let the various camps and factions continue their propaganda. Judge each and every one of them not only according to their superficial, apparent fruits, but primarily judge them according to their message. If it accords with çästra, if it accords with the disciplic succession, if it accords with accurate history, if it accords with Çréla Prabhupäda’s desire, it will automatically accord with THE MISSION, because it is being carried out in the right way.

Questions and Answers

Q: Is the Kåñëa consciousness movement considered conservative or liberal?

A: In the context of generic Man in the material universe—in which he or she is never restricted to one saìga, entity, organization, or corporation—our attitude must be ultra-conservative, viz., always pessimistic about the material. Prabhupäda impressed this attitude over and over, but, just as importantly, anyone actively and intensely engaged in his movement (while it was bona fide) got first-hand realization of it.

Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasväté Prabhupäda and Çréla Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda were both pessimists when it came to any and all material arrangements or upheavals. Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta completely dismissed Gandhi’s movement as having no real value whatsoever, and Prabhupäda then agreed with him. His Divine Grace Çréla Prabhupäda enjoined his initiated disciples to be careful not to be attached to even a mere sunset, because such attachment alone could entail saàsära.

In terms of dealing with individual human beings (a context that is not universal), the Kåñëa consciousness devotee is also usually conservative. Humans in this age are, as often as not, a two-legged animals, and, in terms of consciousness, sometimes lower than that. On the whole, they are untruthful. Their behavior is never to be trusted or emulated. You cannot be naive or optimistic in dealing with another conditioned soul in the mode of passion or in the mode of ignorance. The passionate and the diabolical, and those who are mixed in these modes, will be inclined to cheat you whenever they can.

Next consider the impersonalists (in particular, the Mäyävädés) and the voidists. The voidists must be avoided entirely, except in rather rare circumstances, because they are nothing more than well-behaved nihilists. The mode of ignorance is strong in them, although outwardly they project an aura (usually) of peace, kindness, and goodness. A Vaiñëava has nothing in common with either a Buddhist or a Jain, what to speak of the dedicated nihilists or atheist-existentialist vikarmés of both East and West.

The Mäyävädés are potentially dangerous, and Prabhupäda came down on them heavier than he did the Buddhists. However, sometimes they are superficially favorable to Vaiñëavas, considering them part of their own culture. You can, every now and then, take advantage of something they may offer, e.g., temporary residence in one of their (generally vacant) äçramas. Your author and other godbrothers have done that. Impersonalists and Hindus want to spread their version of Vedic culture, and sometimes they assume devotees are like them. American Hindus, every now and then, offer free or discounted lodging at their motels. Your author has taken advantage of that, as well.

Then there is dealing with devotees. Here the context is different–or at least it should be. If it is different, it is only different to some extent. You can be somewhat liberal with neophytes if you are more advanced on the spiritual path than they are. Mixed devotees should be dealt with in a friendly manner, but, if they are in the mode of ignorance, you cannot risk associating too much with them.

As far as sahajiyäs are concerned, they are like Mäyävädés, but you will almost never get anything from them. They want to suck you into their vortex, and, if they see that they cannot do so, they ignore you. Sahajiyäs are shrewd and usually don’t offer anything or any facility, although technically they are devotees. As long as they do not attract you and you are circumstantially forced to temporarily deal with them, do so deftly.

On the whole, a Kåñëa conscious devotee in this age must be conservative. The udära-dhéù mentality should only be actuated where and when it is applicable, but only by those who are qualified to apply it. Except in very adverse circumstances, however, there is no need to deal with anyone in a reactionary manner.

Q: What about love and trust?

A: In terms of “ISKCON,” how did that turn out? It’s true that a conservative attitude toward people in general (or toward a particular person) often indicates an attitude of distrust underlying it. However, that is generally wanted. In the case of the great enjoyers of “ISKCON,” their Party Men, their hatchet men, their fanatics, their Hindoo sponsors, their poison girls, their gold-plated grifters, their enablers and propagandists, their kept brähmins and their sycophants, an extremely conservative attitude is not only wanted, it is mandatory. Love and trust where applicable, not otherwise.

Q: Is there a sidereal cycle which may help us predict the next black swan?

A: For those of you looking forward to another black swan, in terms of astrological cycles immediate good news is not available. The cycle that appears to be most relevant (in answer to this question) would be the Jupiterian cycle. In sidereal astrology, the käraka for guru (or planetary indicator for guru) is Jupiter. The real issue, in terms of a black swan, would center around a cycle which represents the guru and spiritual life in general.

That would be Jupiter’s.

Now, the objection may be raised that a black swan is just the opposite of auspicious Jupiter. A black swan is dark, and it brings, almost always (if not always), a major, negative impact in its wake. It would thus seem to be more under the portfolio of Saturn than it would be under the portfolio of Jupiter. Saturn is the planetary representative of the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead, His Lordship Çiva, who is in charge of destruction.

As such, a black swan, often being under this portfolio of destruction (Saturn), certainly makes sidereal sense. However, we must also consider that creative destruction is not at all inauspicious when it terminates a pseudo-spiritual scam. On the contrary, then it is very auspicious, and the name Çiva actually mean auspicious.

Over and above this—although certainly related to it—the “ISKCON” movement is a perverted reflection of what once was ISKCON. That genuine movement was founded by a paramparä-Äcärya of the highest order. So, if we must judge which planet best represents him and the movement he founded, that would be Jupiter. As such, the sixty-year Jupiterian cycle is the one to look at, not Saturn’s cycle.

The black swans discussed in this two-part series are all in relation to the “ISKCON” movement, which was originally a spiritual paradigm with a genuine guru featured as its centerpiece. Although somewhat similar (in length) to our solar year of 365.25 days, a Jupiter passage through one sign varies in duration, and that is due to periodic retrograde movements of the planet (the Sun never goes retrograde).

In 1980, Jupiter was in his fourteenth year of his cycle, called Vikrama. A great deal went down in 1980, but he was also in this same cycle for some of 1979. In the fourth week of August, 1979, at the time of Jupiter’s ingress into the fire sign of Leo, there was briefly a conjunction of six planets in Leo (two-thirds of the total planets of sidereal astrology).

That indicated what would transpire while Jupiter transited Leo, as the last four months of 1979, combined with the first half of 1980, percolated deep doubts within devotees relative to “ISKCON.” Two black swans emerged in the second half of 1980, and Jupiter was still in Leo during the first one. These will be discussed subsequently in this two-part series.

Jupiter next makes a similar ingress into Leo (of his sixty-year cycle) during the final months of 2038, which is a long time away. Some of Prabhupäda’s disciples may still be alive then, although all of them will be old. At any rate, this is when some kind of repeat of what went down in 1979-80 may ensue, although that does not mean that there cannot be a few black swans to emerge previous to that.

Legacy of the “Best Men”

Prabhupäda: How many “isms”? Nobody knows. What is called? Faction. Faction. Everyone is divided from the other.
Leading Secretary: Yeah.
Prabhupäda: So, we should not bring that attitude in our Society. That is my request.
Morning Walk, 3-10-76 in Mäyäpur, India

Prabhupäda: Without substance, no movement will stay. It may go on for some time. Bhütvä bhütvä praléyate. Now, what about our movement? It will stay, or it will also go like that?
Leading Secretary: It will stay. . . The big danger, you say, is faction.
Prabhupäda: Hmmm.
Morning Walk, 6-19-74 in Germany

“He was a very nice kid, and I liked him, but I could never see eye to eye with him on a lot of stuff . . . especially the Disciples. He kept telling me if I didn’t like the Disciples, then I didn’t like Jesus and all. He said that because Jesus picked the Disciples, you were supposed to like them. . . I said that He didn’t have time to go around analyzing everybody. I said I wasn’t blaming Jesus or anything. It wasn’t His fault that He didn’t have any time.”
Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye (emphasis not added)

The elder disciples and leading secretaries of ISKCON have been, and still are, glorified in so many ways (especially in their publications and media), but, after Prabhupäda left us, many of those fellows created a legacy that dishonored him.

“I have somehow got so many wonderful boys like yourself to assist me in this way. Now it is practically in your hands to finish and push on what I have started. I am now getting all respect and honor, so now you must preserve that standard and not dishonor me.
Letter to Bhagavän, 12-10-71

Boys are children of men who eventually themselves become men. They cannot remain boys forever, and they do not necessarily remain as wonderful as they once were. There can be no doubt that Çréla Prabhupäda passed the baton to his leading secretaries, virtually all of whom came to him in the Sixties. By 1972, he no longer even wanted to receive letters from his newly-initiated disciples, i.e., he delegated his leading secretaries and presidents the duty to answer their inquiries and requests otherwise sent his way by post. In this connection, consider the following seven quotes from his letters and platform lectures:

“My guru maharäja wanted that this Krishna consciousness be spread all over the Western countries especially, and now in my old age, I am leaving this great responsibility in the hands of all you my students.”
Letter to Karuëamäyé, 2-25-68

“There is no time for creating a crack in our solid formation of Kåñëa consciousness Society. Take it now with great responsibility, and everyone of you may serve jointly for Kåñëa’s satisfaction. That is my request to you all.”
Letter to Satsvarüpa, 7-31-70

“So, we have got a great responsibility to distribute this knowledge of Bhägavata Dharma to the whole world. If we remain very sincere and pure in following the line laid down by the previous great acharyas, this Krishna consciousness movement will undoubtedly be accepted throughout the world as the only religion. This has already been foretold in one newspaper here by a Japanese philosopher, who has predicted that our Krishna consciousness movement will become the world religion by 1981.”
Letter to Jagadéça, 1-5-72

“ . . . for the most part, the ordinary citizens of the society are innocent enough; they simply require good leaders, and everything can be rectified. So, it is our great responsibility to become very serious in the matter of executing Krishna consciousness, and, if we are sincere and go on expanding this movement all over the world, gradually we shall induce the leaders to accept our philosophy more and more.”
Letter to Amarendra, 6-12-72

“ . . . I am an old man, and my notice is already there. Now it is up to you all how to manage it. If you cannot increase it, you should at least maintain what I have given you. You cannot accuse me that I have not given you anything. So, it is a great responsibility . . . ”
Letter to Jagannätha-süta, 8-26-75

“ . . . we have created these G.B.C., so they should be very responsible men. Otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a çüdra. Although Yamaräja is a G.B.C., but he made a little mistake. He was punished to become a çüdra. So, those who are G.B.C.s, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON, otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great.”
Platform Lecture on Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 1.13.15, 6-4-74 in Geneva, Switzerland

Please note that the phrase “they will be punished” was repeated three times. His Divine Grace left THE INSTITUTION in the hands of select disciples, but he never guaranteed—because he never could guarantee–that they would continue to follow him as able administrators and as regular gurus (which was all that he authorized, although he recognized no one even having attained that level of spiritual advancement).

Somewhat indirectly, he expressed doubt that they would even maintain his institution, what to speak of increase it. In order to be successful, they needed to strengthen their service attitude toward him, especially after he departed. Instead, all too many of them developed self-apotheosis, a service attitude to themselves as the lords of all they survey.

That was the attitude which has shaped the legacy of the post-Prabhupäda movement. That kind of false ego is not conducive to carrying out the great responsibility entrusted. Kåñëa consciousness has been hampered by the “ISKCON” leaders since the late Seventies, and changes did not just happen. They were made to happen, and, mostly, made to happen by the elder disciples and the leading secretaries of the governing body.

At first, the zonal imposition appeared united. That group photo, taken in India right after the scam was formed, showed all eleven pretender mahäbhägavats together beaming in the bright Indian sun. They had by then also constituted an Äcärya Board within the G.B.C., but devotees were unaware of that. The seed of factionalism was firmly planted and sprouted by that Äcärya Board, but it had already been planted within some elder disciples even while Prabhupäda was still physically manifest.

The sentiment remains that Prabhupäda’s institution will endure, that it will hold on, that it will overcome the current hiccup or speed bump (if you relegate the deviation merely to that). However, we should be a bit skeptical about such a self-serving sentiment. All indications are that Prabhupäda’s movement—again, if you can still call it being his—is a ship foundering on the raging sea of deviation and about to hit the rocks. The current “ISKCON” leaders have not walked the original line, the line laid down not only by the paramparä but by Prabhupäda, especially when he enjoined, “Regular guru, that’s all.”

Good leaders can rectify everything. However, perhaps you should ask yourself, after all that has gone down for the last four decades, were Prabhupäda’s “best men” actually all that great as leaders? Were they ever really responsible men? Did they step to the plate and measure up to what was expected of them? If such is the case, why is not their institution the world religion by now? It should have become so thirty-seven years ago, but the whole thing has been riven by factionalism for a generation. What mind meld is primarily responsible for that? What group is mostly responsible for this current state of affairs?

“. . . you say that amongst the elder disciples there are still symptoms of greed, anger, strife, bickering, etc., but you are one of them. You are one of the old students, so you fall in that group. So, the fighting is among that group, but not amongst the real workers.”
Letter to Kåñëa däs, 9-9-72

The answer to the question is self-evident.

Proceed to Part Two


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