Descent Into G.B.C. Dystopia

August, 2019

Third of a Four-Part Series

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

Please be careful not to change the ideas.”
Letter to Kirtänänanda, 2-10-67

“ . . . by nature, the people of India have a hankering for spiritual advancement, and, therefore, the present situation is a natural result of the clash between two opposite ideals.”
Letter to Mr. Kair, 7-8-69

The past is never past. It is always present.
And you better reckon with it in your daily experience.
Or it will get you. It will get you really bad.”
Bruce Springsteen

The relationship between ideas and ideals in Kåñëa consciousness is integrally connected. The relationship between the past and the present is similarly interrelated. That principle also applies within the Western bhakti movement, both in its previous and present iteration. As far as the scope of eternity is concerned, the clash of civilizations in the world at this time has no lasting relevance. Conversely, the clashes between Western sahajiyä groups—all of which are suppressing Çréla Prabhupäda’s branch of Lord Caitanya’s Hare Kåñëa movement of Kåñëa consciousness—has significant import. The fact that conditioned souls in the ordinary mix do not recognize this has no bearing on its impact.

The Flat Circle of Future Years Past

“ . . . they split into two factions over who the next äcärya would be. Consequently, both factions were asära, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master.”
Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi Lélä, 12.8, purport

“ . . . they had a big, big meeting with big, big professors, but was there any conclusion? No. So, therefore these kinds of meetings are all useless. Unless there is some conclusion, it is simply a waste of time.”
Letter to Bhägavata, 11-12-75

We are what we pretend to be.
So, we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Kurt Vonnegut

Pretension was at the heart of Gouòéya Mutt deviation in early 1937, when its governing body appointed an influential and learned sannyäsé, a prolific writer and publisher, as that institution’s sole Äcärya. Forty-one years later, the vitiated G.B.C. of “ISKCON,” under the influence of the Mutt, promoted pretension at an even greater scale. Both of these useless governing bodies were proven to have no authority to do what they did, but it took time for that to become clear. It is clear now.

History repeated itself—not exactly, but in essence. However, that realization is hard to come by for those under the influence of “ISKCON” bias. Its power node, the vitiated G.B.C.–replete with massive rationalizations, wrong premises, bad logic, misinformation, and uncountable diversions from the root issues—controls an institution that now acts as a roof atop Lord Caitanya’s movement, stifling it, particularly in the West.

The mortar of “ISKCON” is its institutionalism, buttressed by gurus, sannyäsés, and temple presidents. Its bricks are the assets that it has either usurped or illicitly created, including all corporate documents, assignments, certifications, as well as third-order fanatics and other manpower. The brick-layer is the vitiated governing body itself, along with its commissioners, both individually and collectively.

Together, these are formidable. Some may consider them invincible, but time serves as a flat circle concerning such a misapprehension. If we could be transported back to West Bengal in the middle of 1937, the fan known as Gouòéya Mutt would have appeared invincible. Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasväté set it in motion and empowered it. He borrowed its title from the national railway behemoth and created an entity known as the Governing Body Commission. It was responsible for the 8-5 vote that empowered, in a very flawed way, a great scholar and sannyäsé, Änanta Väsudeva, as the sole Äcärya.

Time proved that it was wrong in doing so, yet there would have been little evidence of this back in that day, just after that G.B.C. made its fateful resolution. All of its many centers in India, created by Siddhänta Sarasväté, were still thriving. They continued to do so for years, and, to those who believed in him, Änanta Väsudeva also appeared to be an imposing, learned, powerful figure . . . and a pure devotee.

Another institutional fan, although unplugged in March, 1978, continued spinning for some years after the imposition of the zonal äcärya scam. Misconceptions (and bad advice) from a senior Navadvipa mahant representing Gouòéya Mutt inserted strong influence into the new iteration. Here are some of those directives:

äcärya of the zone.”
Just put on the uniform, and you will become the soldier.”
mat guru si jagat guru.”
rittvik-äcärya, then it becomes as good as äcärya.”
It is to deceive the disciple.”

All of these cliches, interspersed within a paradigm of intoxicating (and apparently learned) anecdotes, constituted fake pearls of mistaken knowledge. They led the ISKCON institution’s leaders down the path of perdition. We all had to suffer what ensued. Some suffered more than others, of course, because dissidents are always dealt with harshly.

The shrewd Machiavellians of the “ISKCON” movement lapped up what the old man dished out to them and implemented his advice. Their cult became a source of fear, but there were those of us who did not knuckle under. It was all a colossal hoax, a massive pretension, an unprecedented deviation. It planted roots quickly, as devotees in the temples in the late Seventies were soon swapped out for acolytes of the “new gurus.” That new movement, in reality, became immediately asära or useless.

As vikarmic reactions started to rain down (on everyone implicated) in the early Eighties, the vitiated G.B.C. convened meeting after meeting in order to assuage the massive discontent it had set into motion. Its leaders were part of the movement’s growing pains, allegedly learning by trial and error as to how to become gurus. This tactical maneuver culminated in the Guru Reform Movement, an obvious contradiction in and of itself.

Despite some brief, illusory upswings in the “ISKCON” biorhythms, it was breaking up and slowly decaying. The “ISKCON” flag had been unfurled to dizzying heights during the heady days of the zonal äcäryas, but it was all on the verge of cratering by the mid-Eighties. The primary culprit was the vitiated G.B.C., as its insincere search for the right conclusion (to overcome the whole debacle it set into motion) was intrinsically unable to confront the personal ambitions underpinning the deviation.

The institution was engaged in covering Kåñëa consciousness in the name of spreading it. Endless flawed conclusions, none worth rat spit, constituted a waste of time, but they were also masters in the art of buying time. Each new meeting heralded another potential transformation that allegedly would bring everything back to normal. It never did, of course, but those conclaves did keep kicking the can down the road. Then came the Second Transformation, and, after that, Rittvik, which served as a perfect foil in order to further distract from the issues underpinning the conversion of ISKCON into “ISKCON.”

Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind

(Part One)

16. The G.B.C. will consider each year at Gour Poornima (sic) the appointment of new Spiritual Masters to be approved by a 3/4 vote. However, for 1978, no new Spiritual Masters shall be appointed other than the 11 selected by Srila Prabhupada.
Opening Resolutions, 3-19-78

1. Resolved: That the following big-brother G.B.C.s are appointed for the year 1979 . . .
5. G.B.C. Organisation (sic) 3-6-79

8. That the previous G.B.C. resolution which required that young girls wait until 16 years old to be married to be rescinded.
5. Privilege, 2-25-80

There is nothing in the desert,
And man does not need nothing.
Col. T. E. Lawrence
“Lawrence of Arabia”

The absurdity of the “ISKCON” governing body is only surpassed by its potential hazard if it ever were to capture political power from behind the curtain. Here in Part Three, we shall analyze the texts and implications of some of its most “outstanding” resolutions from the late Seventies and the Year of Our Lord, 1980. In Part Four, we shall analyze more of these gems from the turbulent Eighties.

The concept of Big Brother was introduced in Resolution Six of 1978, when Gopäl Kåñëa was appointed the “Big Brother” for New Delhi in the Resolutions that year. As per a related excerpt (above), eight more BIG BROTHERS were appointed the next year. Similarly, notice how Spiritual Masters is capitalized in Resolution 16. In this one, we find that a three-quarters vote by the Commish is required in order to become one of the “ISKCON” institutional gurus. That was changed the next year, as the determination vote was amended, viz., the vote had to be made by the Äcärya Board, rather than the whole body:

1. A G.B.C. committee will be formed consisting of G.B.C. members who are initiating Gurus. they (sic) will choose new gurus once per year in Mayapur.
Opening Resolutions, 3-21-78

By Mayapur, 1979, it was clear that the directives given to various contingencies by Swami B. R. Sridhar were having, at best, mixed results. They had visited him (and lapped his advice right up), and all of that then became integral to the Commission implementing the zonal äcärya scheme. However, the G.B.C., in 1979, began to put some distance between it and the Navadvipa mahant:

5. Resolved: That although all respects should be shown to his Holiness Sridhar Swami and all the other senior vaisnavas (sic) of the Gaudiya Math, no one should independently approach these respected personalities with the intention of begging advice or opinions regarding management or any controversial matters pertaining to ISKCON.
Other Resolutions, 3-6-79

However, if the “best men” actually had lived up to their billing, they would never have implemented any of what Swami B. R. Sridhar dished out. Resolution Five proved not to be all that effective, as the horses were already out of the barn by that time.

Proceeding to 1980, institutionalism and absurdity dipped to the next descending octave:

All future resolutions of an enduring nature shall also be called “Laws of ISKCON.”
4. (d) Parlimentary (sic), 6(d), 2-25-80

16. . . . the G.B.C. is the supreme authority in the management of The International Society For Krishna Consciousness and the direct manifestation of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada . . .
4. Parlimentary (sic), 2-25-80

2. The oath shall be as follows: “I solemnly pledge that while an officer of The International Society For Krishna Consciousness, I will abide by all the orders of the Governing Body Commission of that society.”
5. Privilege, 2-25-80

DOO wah diddy diddy DUMB diddy DOO.

Institution and Politics Over Spiritual Ideals

“Why is there this politics? This is not good. If politics come, then the preaching will be stopped. That is the difficulty. As soon as politics come, everything is spoiled. In the Gaudiya Math the politics is still going on. . . Do not come to this.”
Letter to Guru Kåpä, 9-30-75

I am so much perplexed why you all had done this. I have appointed originally twelve G.B.C. members, and I have given them twelve zones for their administration and management. But simply by agreement, you have changed everything. So, what is this?
Letter to Rüpänuga, 4-4-72

To rely upon conviction and devotion
And other excellent spiritual qualities
Is not to be taken seriously in politics.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin

The ideals of genuine Kåñëa consciousness must always be placed at the very top of the pyramid, higher than the superstructure, higher than the Party, higher than the hierarchy, and higher than the outreach. The Party, the superstructure, the hierarchy, and the outreach are all, in and of themselves, zeroes. They have value when the integer is firmly in place in front of them; otherwise, they are worthless.

This analogy is not perfect, however, because all those zeroes can also be counterproductive. Without the integer of pure ideals in place as the capstone, what functions without them is not merely meaningless but works to cover Kåñëa consciousness. If this is difficult for you to realize, that is because you have thus far failed to get your values in proper order.

The argument that the ossification of Prabhupäda’s branch of Lord Caitanya’s Hare Kåñëa movement was inevitable is a shallow one. That pattern (or “law,” if you prefer) tends to be applicable to mundane organizations, but a Vaiñëava movement is not meant to be governed by time, space, and relativity trends applicable to temporary creations. Over and above that, the eternal connection ends as soon as leaders at the top echelons become corrupt. They were already devolving in that direction before Prabhupäda departed, so the ossification and putrefaction ensued automatically.

When the majority of the rank and file foolishly followed egotistical ghosts (whose chutzpah was beyond measure), there was no reversing course. This was especially the case after those eleven great pretenders began loading up all of the centers with their own men and women, polluting the superstructure, as well as injecting almost everyone who remained within it with the all-pervading “ISKCON” béja.

The previously bona fide bhakti process was changed, and the ideals were also changed, although how this was actuated is not discernible to the uneducated eye. Ironically, the First Transformation, as well as the Second Transformation (that replaced it), had elements that were right, but both were severely compromised from the moment they attained prominence and dominance. An article in and of itself.

Personal charisma is an important feature for a devotee leading his own branch of the Kåñëa consciousness movement. A madhyam-adhikäré is not supposed to be without charisma, and, just as importantly, he is not supposed to be dependent upon the institution. As he advances in spiritual life, his personal charisma also increases.

However, the pretender mahäbhägavat, although he may possess personal charisma (as well as abilities that could be dovetailed to Kåñëa consciousness), has not attained oneness with the Vaiñëava ideals. Those ideals, on the other hand, are perfectly represented by the madhyama-adhikäré. The guru must be a perfect man, but there are stages of that perfection. The pretender mahäbhägavat does not possess any such perfection, because he is not situated in any genuine stage of devotional perfection. This is because he is a sahajiyä, despite his misused personal charisma . . . and his chutzpah!

The First Transformation was loaded with charisma. The Second Transformation replaced most of that with the institutional charisma of the Party. Neither situation was ideal, and both were deviations. Why? Because both were built upon sand: The sand of dishonesty. “Regular guru, that’s all.” That was neglected by the first iteration and improperly and dishonestly imitated and wrongly implemented by its replacement.

His Divine Grace did not officially recognize any realized devotees in his movement nor did he empower anyone to act as initiating guru. This was unfortunate, of course, but he was not going to force some kind of futile empowerment, propping up someone who did not deserve it and would misuse it. In both the First and Second Transformations, the only effective “reform” was the reformation of the hierarchy itself, as different leaders assumed different positions at different levels in the “ISKCON” turtle tank, the winners pushing themselves up on the shells at the expense of reptiles below them.

That never has any real meaning in the long run, but such a vision was not possessed by any of the big-time players in “ISKCON.” As would be expected, cult dogmatism emanating from the G.B.C. changed during each transformation, and its process of so-called bhakti was adapted accordingly. The root issues were buried, as the G.B.C. (fully responsible for the zonal äcärya imposition) became a leaden capstone atop The Party. Personal charisma got shoved down an octave, and G.B.C. worship filled in for it.

The so-called “single Äcärya system,” a misnomer if there ever was one (one does not equal eleven), was now replaced by a collegiate system of so-called mature madhyams, who, somehow or other, remained loyal during the era of the zonals. Nice if it were true, but none of this new set of leaders consisted of madhyams. Nor were they kaniñöhäs. They were pseudo-Vaiñëava deviants—another version of sahajiyä.

It was what the fighting was all about: EXCITEMENT! So many controversies covered the root issues, which were conveniently ignored and forgotten. The revolutionary excitement of the Sixties and the early Seventies was replaced by a dim and warped replica, a facsimile that was held in place because G.B.C. fanatics forced everyone to toe the line—or to be ostracized. Cult coercion was the enforcement mechanism, and this was encouraged by the G.B.C., since the Commish was its beneficiary. A thriving and diverse international organization was thus overlaid with oppressive homogeneity.

In all the excitement, everyone lost track of the real issues. The Society was converted into a cult of organization, ideals be damned! Ideological changes were considered in terms of whether they superficially appeared to work, not on whether or not they were based on çästra. The ideal of honesty was considered meaningless.

After all, “ISKCON” was proving its so-called legitimacy by its ever-increasing numbers! It wanted to be popular, and it smashed whatever it needed to in order to increase popularity. By the late Eighties, nobody inside “ISKCON” gave any credence to anything that could prove unpopular. Rigid one-party rule (read, G.B.C. rule) projected an illusory display of unity in diversity, all imposed upon the centers in order to stave off splinter groups.

All spiritual qualities depend upon honesty. Obviously, this was (and is) not taken seriously in “ISKCON” politics. Real honesty was held in contempt and remains so. If you prioritize honesty, if you desire a presentation of accurate history in the movement, if you desire to uphold the genuine bhakti process, you are much better situated in spiritual life by holding “ISKCON” in the contempt it deserves.

G.B.C. Eclipses the Presidents

“G.B.C. does not mean to control a center. G.B.C. means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamäla is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of G.B.C.. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. G.B.C. is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of G.B.C.. . .The G.B.C. men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the G.B.C. members first. A G.B.C. member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage . . . (b)ut it is a fact that the local president is not under the control of the G.B.C.. Yes, for improvement of situations such as this, I must be informed of everything.”
Letter to Giriräj, 8-12-71

“And I am surprised that none of the G.B.C. members detected the defects in the procedure. It was detected only when it came to me. What will happen when I am not here: Shall everything be spoiled by G.B.C.?”
Letter to Hansadutta, 4-11-72

Some things are too hot to touch.
The human mind can only stand so much.
You can’t win with a losing hand.
Bob Dylan, “Things Have Changed”

Currently, there are three major forces disrupting the Kåñëa consciousness movement, as it had been truly represented by the branch founded and managed by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda. These three forces are, in order of their potential power, “ISKCON,” Rittvik, and Neo-Mutt. We have written and spoken about them repeatedly and shall continue to do so. Although Rittvik can be seen as a single deviation, as far as it is playing out, it consists of groups pushed in different regions by different rittviks.

“ISKCON” has a degree of unity, but Neo-Mutt consists of at least seven influential wild-cards, all but one of them claiming adherence to Swämi B. R. Çrédhar. Who or what is responsible for this thick tangle of deviation? Can Prabhupäda be blamed for it? We discussed that idea in Part Two. Can his disappearance, the absence of one great unifying and heavy personality, be responsible? Indirectly, perhaps.

However, if you walk back the cat, despite Swämi B. R. Çrédhar’s poisonous advice (a definite factor!) in the late Seventies, the responsibility for all the current hell in the so-called Kåñëa conscious movement falls squarely on the Governing Body Commission.

After Prabhupäda departed, the G.B.C. no longer assisted the ISKCON temple presidents, but instead over-lorded them. Although this was done primarily by the eleven zonals (who quickly amassed the power to do it), none of that would have went down had not the G.B.C. fully supported them. The eleven great pretenders did not actually impose the zonal äcärya deviation; it was the G.B.C. that imposed it.

It would have never even gotten traction without the G.B.C. imprimatur. It was the edict of the G.B.C. which worked to suppress the temple presidents. It rendered them unable to motivate devotees in their temples. This meant that temple presidents were then converted into place-holders, unable to actuate their visions for carrying out the Kåñëa consciousness mission in their city or in their region. Worse than that, most of the devotees in their temples looked down upon them as, at best, semi-authorities.

This disdain for the temple presidents would only increase as their temples became more and more populated by initiates of the “new gurus.” In effect, the rank-and-file in the various temples world-wide (with the exception of Kåñëa-Balaräm mandir . . . for awhile) were in a state of rebellion against diminished authorities that they no longer even respected very much. The presidents were considered relative, not absolute.

This set the stage for major disillusionment, and, as the early Eighties broke open with all kinds of guru falldowns—and they became known—Neo-Mutt was able to emerge from the ocean of nescience, beginning in San Jose. Know it for a fact that Neo-Mutt would never have gained any traction whatsoever if the G.B.C. had not massively deviated in the way that it did, throwing the presidents under the bus and the whole movement into turmoil—and, in effect, creating a potent and poisonous apa-sampradäya in the process.

Three Great Cons (1978-1989)

Everyone should adore our members as honest.”
Letter to Rupänüga, 1-9-75

“We don’t need to take cheating method.
I never had to use any cheating method when I first began.
I simply presented the real thing.”
Letter to Rameçvara, 1-1-75

You tell lies thinkin’ I can’t see.
You can’t cry cuz you’re laughin’ at me.
The Beatles, “I’m Down”

In the late Seventies, especially in America, “ISKCON” confidence games increased exponentially. Yet, only a handful of devotees noticed this. We are not referring to the myriad frauds played out at every level of Western society on the mundane plane, although those also increased at that time. We are, instead, referencing what was just outside the boundary of the esoteric plane, not within the esoteric itself.

All of these capers, summarized as the THREE GREAT CONS (1978-1989), began with the eleven pretender zonal äcäryas—and what powerful confidence men they were! Soon vikarmic results began to be felt. It was then that Neo-Mutt emerged, and it featured another brand of frauds disguised as gurus. The Eighties book-ended with Rittvik and its so-called rittvik-äcäryas, a different set of confidence men working a different angle.

Although “ISKCON” took over with force and false glory in the spring of 1978, it is a mistaken notion that it was not incubating previous to the zonal imposition. In point of fact, back in the day, there were two movements vying for power while His Divine Grace was physically manifest: ISKCON and its shadow Society. The latter was gaining on the former from the mid-Seventies onward. The “ISKCON” confidence man was already operating during this time. He was the expert love-bomber, charming his way into the hearts of gullible and compulsive godbrothers and godsisters.

As the rituals (and similar processes) within the movement changed, so did its ideals. The G.B.C. was benefiting from this descent into the black hole of a shadow Society, so it went unchecked. Prabhupäda was converted into a figurehead, and new leaders were replacing him in various temples and zones, in effect asking their marks: Do you love me now? Do you now have confidence in me? If you do, show me! What will you give to me in order to prove that you have confidence in me?

This tactic was well suited for “ISKCON.” It remained unchecked primarily because almost no one was willing to admit that something was wrong. The ISKCON system was based upon belief and compulsion. As such, when the new “ISKCON” confidence man demanded faith in himself—projecting that lack of faith in him was non-different from faithlessness in Prabhupäda— it carried weight. Those con men were expert psychic manipulators—some more than others (read, T.K.G.)—and, for the members who were not gullible enough, there was always the club of fear and ostracism at their beck and call.

Four decades later, we see that three primary groups (in terms of their competing paradigms) have seduced different sets of victims. They all utilize their own false version of history to back up their paradigms. Taking advantage of those who buy into what they are selling, it all comes back to a fundamental psychology that the gullible require to place their confidence in something–or someone representing that something.

“ISKCON” is a society of the cheaters and cheated. Neo-Mutt consists of wild-cards, all of them also cheaters. Rittvik is a loosely knit “society” of competitors engaged in cheap initiations doled out by back door gurus, i.e., so-called rittviks. There are outliers in it, e. g., especially that powerful personality cult in Bangalore.

These cons play upon the compulsion of their victims, creating empathy and rapport in the name of a departed master or pseudo-master. The game is set into motion when the emotional foundation is established. That is easy for them to do, because, after all, the basic system is supposed to be bhakti-yoga, where emotion is emphasized. All three paradigms are horse-crap, but a new boss took over in the late Seventies. It had already, to a limited extent, introduced its own deviation previous to that. The new boss is the vitiated G.B.C. of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation.

None of the later con games could have gained a scintilla of traction had not the G.B.C. afforded them the opportunity to do so. If the G.B.C. had remained (a stretch to use the participle here, obviously) strong and bona fide, be assured that there would have been no Neo-Mutt. There would have been no Neo-Mutt, because, even if some of the commissioners had paid a courtesy visit to Swami B. R. Çrédhar, they would have come back with their report. It would have stated that he tried to introduce bad stuff into Prabhupäda’s Kåñëa consciousness movement, which the G.B.C. would have rejected.

Transcripts of those meetings would never have circulated. The Navadvipa mahant would have remained the unknown that he previously was, and a bona fide G.B.C. would have followed the orders of His Divine Grace. The shadow Society within Prabhupäda’s “ISKCON” would have died on the vine, any influential relationship with Gouòéya Mutt would never have been consummated, and Kåñëa consciousness would now be thriving, in a genuine form, worldwide . . . in no small part, because there would never have been any pretender mahäbhägavats.

The Rittvik reaction would have had no basis by which to gain critical mass, and thus it would not have emerged. All other godbrothers would have respected the godbrother regular gurus, their preaching, their disciples, and the movement would have developed just as Prabhupäda envisioned. And especially . . .

The G.B.C. would have known its place and stayed in its lane.

But, it didn’t. Instead, it decided to become a worse version of what it already was becoming by the mid-Seventies. Directly or indirectly, it sanctioned the confidence men. The Neo-Mutt wild cards cannot be stopped by “ISKCON,” because these two paradigms are essentially engaged in the same scam. The anti-Vedic, anti-Vaiñëava Rittvik alternative also simply distracts from the root issues and further compounds the general bewilderment.

The whole debacle traces back to massive G.B.C. deviation. It traces back to its presumption of dominance that was never a part of the charter authorizing it. In Part Four, we shall delve into the technological wizardry that could be emerge for the G.B.C. to exponentially exploit and increase its ever-devolving dystopia, if we allow it to do so.

Return to Part One
Return to Part Two


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