The Grand Inquisitor Revisited

November, 2019

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

“Yesterday, Janärdana took me to a nice church here called Notre Dame . . . with colorful figures and windows, decorated with nicely painted pictures about the Crucifixion of Lord Jesus Christ. Everything was grotesque.”
Letter to Aniruddha, 7-7-68

In order to allegedly correct his error, has the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation created an alternative to what Prabhupäda actually wanted? Now, this question is not entirely new. My answer will include interesting explanations for all of you, but the question itself has been raised before, even in a previous century.

Concerning that fact, Dostoevsky featured it, but in the context of a different organized religion. He is considered to be a great writer. Frankly, I would initially not be inclined to agree with this assessment. His chief book, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, is as ponderous as it is dull—with one exception, but that exception is major! That exception alone qualifies Dostoevsky as a very great writer. That exception is the chapter in KARAMAZOV entitled THE GRAND INQUISITOR.

It recounts an Inquisitor’s interrogation of a saintly man, one who has appeared in Spain during the height of the Inquisition. The Grand Inquisitor arrests him and claims that Iesus Kristos misunderstood human nature. He explains that the Church has corrected the mistaken preaching, which, fifteen centuries ago, emphasized the importance of free will. The chapter raises profound issues about existential problems, especially the relationship between institutional faith and free will.

Dostoevsky sets the stage for his themes by postulating that Iesus Kristos has apparently chosen to reincarnate and pass among men in a somewhat similar human form from which he did so earlier. The previous day in Seville, one hundred heretics had been burned at the stake in the town square. Everyone, including the royalty, attending the celebration of this mass execution. The next day, Iesus Kristos apparently reappears there.

No one should be able to recognize him, but, mysteriously, everyone somehow or other does. The common people flock to him. He radiates love and enlightenment. He blesses them, both individually and collectively. He emanates divine power. He heals some of them. The children are particularly attracted to him, throwing flowers in front of him as he gracefully walks among the crowd. He then performs a miracle by raising a dead child from her coffin. This creates great excitement, but it does not elicit the same response within the Grand Inquisitor, who also viewed the miracle. He was, the previous day, garbed in his resplendent attire, but today he is wearing only a worn cassock. His praetorian guard, along with some monks and servants with him, have also witnessed the event. Thus, he must immediately act.

His eyes flash. The docile crowd, trained in abject obedience, parts as his men arrest the anointed one. They march this saintly man to the dungeon. The Inquisitor blesses the crowd, and they bow to him. The Captive awaits an interrogation, which begins in his cell soon after nightfall. The Inquisitor enters the cell alone, with a lamp in his hand. He locks the iron door behind him and then studies the face of the Captive. He places his lamp on a small table in the cell.

This is the prelude, the setting, for what we shall now explore. We shall analyze what the Inquisitor asks and says to the prisoner, although he never answers any of the old man’s questions. We shall analyze the assertions that the Inquisitor makes. We shall do so, however, in the context of its post-modern, Western applicability.

They Will Rush to Rake the Embers

In this chapter from Dostoevsky, are there issues and themes applicable to the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation? In order to answer that question, let us consider some of the Grand Inquisitor’s comments—both their imports and purports—as he attempts to intimidate his prisoner. Let us consider these comments in the context of “ISKCON.” Particularly, could something similar—not exactly the same, but in essence similar—develop in the not-as-distant-as-you-may-think future?

The Grand Inquisitor begins his interrogation:

“Why have you come to get in our way? For you have come to get in our way, and you yourself know it. But do you know what happens tomorrow? I do not know who you are, and I do not want to know: You may be he or you may be only his likeness, but tomorrow I shall find you guilty and burn you at the stake as the most wicked of heretics. Those same people who today kissed your feet will tomorrow, at one wave of my hand, rush to rake up the embers on your bonfire. Do you know that? Yes, I dare say you do.”

Organized religion is notorious for self-absorption in everything that contradicts its dogma as being motivated only by the intention of getting in its way and foiling it. It has a strong tendency to be also absorbed in a sense of predestined triumphalism, although the contradiction is generally not recognized even by its dedicated adherents.

As evidenced by the first statement from the Grand Inquisitor, it is contemptuous of its congregation. In the case of “ISKCON,” that would indicate the zealots, the chelas, the space cadets, the kick-mees, and the slows. “ISKCON” leaders know that none of these possess any kind of threat to their hierarchy, because its leaders can turn a gullible malcontent around at a moment’s notice through deception, bewilderment, fear, guilt, or any combination of these energies.

Yet, the cult also knows that there are some devotees from back in the day, once very dedicated to the cause of the movement when it was still bona fide, who cannot be so intimidated. It knows that they know where “ISKCON” and its hierarchy is at and how its upper echelons manipulate all of those under its spell. These devotees are represented by the Captive in this tale. We shall continue to explain all of this, of course, but first there must be explication of a related tangent.

Dostoevsky only knew Christianity. His regional theism was of the Russian Orthodox, but that was not suitable for THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. As such, he applied his description to the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly as carried out by its Jesuit wing. We have no truck with either Catholicism or any division of Christianity. This presentation has not one iota of negativity directed at them. We are applying Dostoevsky’s parable to the theistic make-show known as the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. It is mostly Eastern, although certainly shot through with plenty of Western contamination.

Lest You Take Away Their Freedom

The Grand Inquisitor continued to badger The Captive:

“Do you have the right to divulge to us so much as one of the mysteries of the world from which you have come? No, you do not, lest you add anything to what has already been said by you, lest you take away from people the freedom you so stood up for when you were upon the earth. Anything new that you divulge will encroach upon people’s freedom to believe. It will look like a miracle, and their freedom to believe was what mattered to you most even back then. Was it not you who so often used to say back then: ‘I want to make you free?’ Well, now you have seen those ‘free’ people.”

The Inquisitor is a bit apprehensive, just in case this new incarnation reveals something more about the kingdom of God than what he did before. Perhaps, he might also tack on some kind of new dispensation. However, the Inquisitor informs him that he cannot do any of that, although his logic in proffering that restriction is anything but foolproof.

Again, we see that the Inquisitor is stressing the free will of the common man that Iesus preached to previous. The Inquisitor is contemptuous of free will, and he taunts the Captive, criticizing him for making it one of the foundations of his movement under Roman rule. He informs this saintly man that he cannot any longer perform more miracles, despite the fact that he had already performed one the day before at the child’s casket.

The Inquisitor is all about restriction. Ultimately, organized religion creates layers of stratification in order to enforce artificial restrictions previously or currently imposed. Those restrictions make the institution and its hierarchy the be-all and end-all of all reassurance and absolution. Remember, during the time of the Inquisition, unless you were a functioning member of the priesthood, it was punishable at the stake to even own a Bible.

They Will Lay It at Our Feet

The old Inquisitor then expresses more of his displeasure:

“Yes, this task has cost us dearly, but we have at last accomplished it in your name. For fifteen centuries, we have struggled with that freedom, but now it is all over and over for good. You don’t believe that it is over for good? You look at me meekly and do not even consider me worthy of indignation? Well, I think you ought to be aware that now, and particularly in the days we are currently living through, those people are even more certain than ever that they are completely free. Indeed, they themselves have brought us their freedom and have laid it humbly at our feet.”

There are two institutional tactics here fit for analysis and elucidation. These are both pillars of the overall strategy of organized religion. The old man is saying, very forthrightly, that his cult has made a fundamental change to the teaching given by Iesus Kristos. He adds that it has been able to pull that off because it was done in the name of Iesus Kristos.

Furthermore, the free will stressed by Iesus, as a result of the machinations of the later theocrats, has now been surrendered to the priesthood. It has been surrendered, in one fell swoop, by the vox populi in exchange for the false promise by the theocracy that such surrender was non-different from using it properly. In other words, the populace has been conveniently convinced that, as long as its collective and individual free will is surrendered to the Church, everyone is freed from all responsibility.

Are these two tactics applicable to the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. Oh, both of them most certainly are! The Church took credit for having conquered the problem of freedom by shouldering that problem upon itself, allegedly. As we shall understand later, the whole charade of having that power is a colossal hoax.

When a spiritual-cum-devotional movement is bona fide—especially, when it is led by a physically MANIFEST Äcärya on the highest platform of purity and realization—then constant service to the cause of that movement entails, as a benediction, complete freedom from any and all karmic or vikarmic reactions during the course of that devotional service. Does that benediction apply to the post-modern “ISKCON” iteration? Most certainly it does not!

Why Have You Come to Get in Our Way?

The Grand Inquisitor continued:

“You were given warnings. You had plenty of warnings and instructions, but you did not obey them. You rejected the only path by which people could have been made happy, but fortunately, when you left, you handed over the task to us. You gave your promise, you sealed it with your word, you gave us the right to bind and loose. Of course, you cannot even dream of taking that right from us now. So why have you come to get in our way?”

“ISKCON” already existed and was gaining on the real movement even while Prabhupäda was still with us. Prabhupäda was converted into a figurehead for most devotees no later than 1976. He was mostly being used for other purposes by the mid-Seventies, although it would get much, much worse after he left physical manifestation. Those rascal leaders knew that he would have no choice but to hand over the movement to them when he departed, and, by the spring of 1976, there were already some warning signs concerning his health.

Let us unpack what the Grand Inquisitor says here to The Captive. Let us see whether or not it has had—and continues to have–some relevancy for the post-modern situation of what only superficially appears to have been Prabhupäda’s movement. First, the people’s happiness.

Well, applying it there, the plebes mostly were and are sent out on the pick. The leaders wanted the rank-and-file to enjoy a relatively loose lifestyle, just as long as they enjoyed themselves—in all of their deceptive get-up—in order to pick the bone and bring it on home. A side benefit of such covert sensuality was that few if any these gold-plated vaiçyas would actually gain spiritual strength by such loose engagement.

They would mostly develop little more than above-average sales acumen, but few if any of the benefits that accrue in developing an austere lifestyle of knowledge and detachment—which the pick is anything but!

This meant that they were no threats to the “ISKCON” leadership, because they were rather easily controlled. The promise that it would mean automatic deliverance for them—even though they remained at the A-B-C-D level in knowledge of the bhakti science—was implicit. They could enjoy happiness that would have otherwise been denied to them when all the preaching was direct, free from deception.

And then we come to the succession argument. It is not directly called that by the Inquisitor, but that is most certainly what is being referred to in the excerpt. When Prabhupäda attempted to extricate himself from management problems–which had, at times, overwhelmed him in the early Seventies–the leaders took that to mean that it was now their movement. Of course, they did not pay the price for hijacking it, and that is established in the record beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nevertheless, that was their mentality. . . and it still is.

Who is Like Unto This Beast?

The Great Inquisitor continued berating The Captive:

“That great Spirit spoke with you in the wilderness, and we are told in the Scriptures that he tempted you. Is that so? Would all the great wisdom of the earth be able to invent anything at all even remotely equivalent in power and depth of what he tempted you with? Why, by the sheer miracle of his emergence, it is possible to gain the realization that one is dealing not with a fleeting human intelligence, but with one that is eternal and absolute.”

The Grand Inquisitor goes on to explain how it is so.

“‘Decide for yourself who was right: You or the One who questioned you that day? Remember his question: ‘You want to go into the world and are going there with empty hands, with a kind of promise of freedom which they in their simplicity and inborn turpitude are unable even to comprehend! Look, you see those stones in that naked, burning hot wilderness? Turn the stones into loaves, and mankind will go trotting after you like a flock, grateful and obedient, though ever fearful that you may take away your hand and that your loaves may cease to come their way.’

You retorted that man lives not by bread alone, but are you aware that in the name of that same earthly bread the Spirit will rise up against you and fight with you and vanquish you, and everyone will follow, crying: ‘Who is like unto this beast, he has given us fire from heaven!’

And it is only we that shall feed them, in your name, and lie that we do it in your name. They will bring us their freedom and place it at our feet and say to us: ‘Enslave us if you will, but feed us.’”

It was necessary to consolidate the excerpt, accurately representing its essence. I have done just that throughout this article. If you argue that “ISKCON” does not emphasize satisfying hungry stomachs, that is obvious. Currently, the nation-states of the Western world feed their populaces rather well–at least, mostly so. Nevertheless, the issue of food is not central to the chief point being made by the Grand Inquisitor here: The issue is the guarantee from organized religion, a guarantee of deliverance for the purchase of relinquishing your freedom.

There are two other important points to cover from this excerpt. First, notice the emphasis by the Inquisitor on the pronoun “we.” WE shall do this or that. This is always the mentality of the ever-stratified hierarchy of organized religion. Its topmost rungs consider that the overwhelming majority of those below them—oh, make that all of them–are completely dependent upon the first echelon. And they do whatever they can to make sure that dependency continues. Sure, they will encourage individual initiative here or there, such as when it comes to ripping off the vikarmés, as long as all or most of that ill-gotten gain is surrendered to the institution.

However, when it comes to knowledge and realization, the power elite consists of the only devotees who actually know. Those in and on the lower rungs must SHOW that they ultimately do not know. They do this by requiring reassurance that their actions and so-called preaching is approved by their great leaders, at least three of which are Inquisitors in the making.

Austerity for the purpose of the pick? Oh, certainly encouraged! Austerity for the purpose of advancing in knowledge, realization, and detachment? Perish the thought! Be a good cow: Chew grass and give milk!

For it is THEY who know what is good for you. It is THEY, not you, who will see to it that you are saved in the end, even if you remain little more than a gold-plated ignoramus for the duration of your loyalty to the institution. It is THEY who know already, with their uncanny prescience of just how everything is going to turn out. So, you had better stay on board unless you are otherwise hurled by them into the ocean of nescience.

After all, the critics—the whole lot of them—will not be saved, mostly because they did not recognize the essential importance of Prabhupäda’s “BEST MEN!” Instead, they made–and continue to make–so many offenses by speaking truth to power, by representing the history of his branch of Lord Caitanya’s movement accurately and in the right perspective, and by pointing out the glaring contradictions of “ISKCON,” along with those of the Party Men who always parrot the party line.

All of the critics and malcontents are scheduled for rebirth. How and why that is so is not to be questioned. It is simply a fact . . . allegedly so, because the great “ISKCON” leaders, all honorable men, either directly say, or at least vibe, that it is a fact–and they cannot ever be questioned! The jackals may howl, but the “ISKCON” caravan passes on, unaffected by any propaganda—even when it is cent-per-cent THE TRUTH.

It passes on, because the “ISKCON” leaders, just like the Grand Inquisitor and his wolf pack, say that it passes on–predestined by Providence to win in the end. It passes on, because they are empowered to be THE DOERS. But YOU can never be so empowered. Do not even allow yourself to dream that you can! We call the shots. We see to it that you are delivered in the end. The institution is non-different from our desire and our will, because WE ARE THE INSTITUTION.

And notice that the Inquisitor reminds the Captive that “We shall do it in your name.” Remember, he is thinking that the Captive might be a re-incarnation of Iesus Kristos. This was always the mentality of the top echelons of the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation. They think that they are non-different from the will of Prabhupäda. They believe that their group is ever-blessed to be so.

They claim that their decisions are Prabhupäda’s. If you question their programs or systems—what to speak of the well-formatted matrix from which the whole of the institution functions—you are (allegedly) doubting Prabhupäda himself.

And if one of those programs or systems breaks down? If one of them is shown to have been faulty from the gate? Well, it never was so, not at any time. It was all Krishna’s arrangement but, to be more specific, His test. You passed the test if you stayed loyal to those who benefited most during the duration of that program or system, before it had to be jettisoned. You failed if you spoke out against it, even if such defiance was, directly or indirectly, the reason that it was jettisoned.

Because that could never have been the ACTUAL reason for its termination nor can it ever be the actual reason. The reason why a program or system was upended and circumvented is because the big guns of “ISKCON” decided that it was to be terminated. Nothing more than that, even if there was, in fact, much more than that.

The Second Transformation did not emerge due to malcontents within and without. It emerged only because the great leaders decided that it was a time for a change. The Third Transformation, the creeping dominance of the Hindoo Hodgepodge, was not a fix-it-as-you-go systematic re-programming. Why, it was all planned well in advance! You must have faith in this, because it was pre-arranged by the great leaders of “ISKCON,” who all represent Prabhupäda at all times–except when they attack each other, of course.

They Will Consider Us Gods

The Grand Inquisitor continued:

“They will marvel at us and will consider us gods, because we have consented to ENDURE freedom and rule over them! But we shall say that we are obedient to you, and that we rule in your name. We shall deceive them again, for we shall not let you near us anymore. That deception will be our suffering, for we shall be compelled to lie.”

Ah, yes. “ISKCON” cares for the weak, as long as they are not so weak that they are unable to produce results. However, “ISKCON” does not care to make them really strong, enough so that they become independently powerful devotees. No, keep them weak where it matters, but make them strong where it benefits you. They want freedom from the responsibility of their actions. They are not freed by “ISKCON,” but it APPEARS to them that they have been made free from reaction. The upper echelons use Prabhupäda when it suits their purposes; otherwise, he is not at all emphasized or even cited.

The Principal Torment

As per the Inquisitor:

“The preoccupation of these miserable creatures consists of finding something that everyone can come to believe in and bow down before–and that it should indeed be everyone and that they should do it all together. It is this need for a community of bowing-down that has been the principal torment of each individual person–and of mankind as a whole–since the earliest ages.”

We all experienced a trial run of this principle when the imposition of the zonal äcärya deviation went down in 1978. Never forget that everyone was expected to bow down to the äcärya of the zone in which they worshiped, the temple in which they were living. And if you didn’t? Well, your life then experienced a different kind of “principal torment,” to quote a phrase from the Grand Inquisitor here.

The Unhappy Creature Must Surrender

More from the Old Evil Man:

“Just take a look at what you did: And all of it again in the name of freedom! I tell you, man has no preoccupation more nagging than to find the person to whom that unhappy creature may surrender the gift of freedom with which he is born. But only he can take mastery of people’s freedom who is able to set their consciences at rest.”

The genuine guru does set the conscience of his disciple at rest, because, the disciple, in utilizing his free will to serve the spiritual master, does so for the guru’s pleasure. At a certain stage of advancement in the process, the disciple does so in the way that he or she chooses. The process is dynamic, not mechanical. The Inquisitor is referring to the bliss of a fool’s paradise.

Beyond the Tomb, Only Death

The Inquisitor continued to berate his Prisoner:

“We are allowing them to sin because we love them. As for the punishment for those sins, very well, we shall take it upon ourselves. And they will worship us as benefactors, who have assumed responsibility for their sins before God. But they shall have no secrets from us.

There will be thousands upon millions of happy babes, and a hundred thousand martyrs who have taken upon themselves the curse of the knowledge of good and evil. Quietly they will die, quietly they will fade away in your name but beyond the tomb will find only death. But we shall preserve the secret and, for the sake of their happiness, we shall lure them with eternal reward.”

Herein is described the post-dated, blank check offered by organized religion to its congregation, from a bank account that has no funds in it, because it has been closed out for a very long time. In the case of “ISKCON,” that is for over forty years. The leaders are the only ones allegedly heavy enough to handle the truth of good and evil. They supposedly know that evil is supreme, and that it’s all LIGHTS OUT at the time of death, or, as the Inquisitor so aptly puts it: Beyond the tomb, one gets only death.

It’s the secret they keep, covered by a promise of eternal life, a promise that organized religion and its inquisitors can never keep, because they have no power to keep it. Only the genuine guru can deliver on the promise of permanent happiness. That promissory note can only be redeemed by his disciple when he or she utilizes free will properly . . . because nothing is automatic without this dynamic firmly in place.

We Corrected Your Deed

The Old Man has a different view, obviously:

“And indeed, did you really only come to the chosen ones and for the chosen ones? But if that is so, then there is a mystery there, and it is not for us to comprehend it. And if there is a mystery, then we were within our rights to propagate that mystery and teach them which they must obey blindly, even in opposition to their consciences. And that was what we did. We corrected your deed and founded it upon miracle, mystery and authority.”

The fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation has no spiritual or devotional authority, not since the spring of 1978. It can perform no miracles. Whatever it demonstrates has been usurped from the miracle the Founder established in the eleven years he was with us. As far as mystery is concerned, the G.B.C. mystique is nothing more than a bluff. Its strongest representatives wrongly consider themselves to be the best of all devotees, to be the really chosen ones. They are no such thing, except if you consider that Kali-yuga has especially chosen them to cover Kåñëa consciousness in the most effective way possible.

The Need of Universal Union

Then the Inquisitor decided to play the UNITY CARD:

“Man seeks in the world someone to bow down before, someone to entrust one’s conscience to–and a way of at last uniting everyone into an undisputed, consensual ant-heap for the need of universal union.”

This is the dreadful hole card that very well might entice the marriage between The Technocracy and “ISKCON” sometime in the future, unless we fully expose the deviant cult now, check its momentum, and, as soon as possible, terminate its influence, beginning in the United States.

Finally, the Inquisitor summed everything up:

“We have grown tired of waiting for you. We have transferred–and will yet transfer–the energies of their hearts to a different sphere. In the end, they will raise their free banner against you. But it was you yourself who raised that banner. In our hands, everyone will be happy and will neither mutiny nor destroy one another anymore, as they do in your freedom.

Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom for us and submit to us. And what does it matter whether we are right or whether we are telling a lie? They will be persuaded that we are right. We shall give them a quiet, reconciled happiness, the happiness of feeble creatures, such as they were created.”

Organized religion thinks like this. Obviously, they never come right out with it, of course, but this is their mentality. They believe that they know. They know what is good for those under them, even if those sinners do not know what is in their own best interest. The “ISKCON” leaders know, but the root essence of that so-called knowledge cannot be revealed to those who must be led to happiness free from the burden of free will, free from the burden of real choice. Simply choose the institution, and all your problems are solved!

The “ISKCON” banner is now being raised. All glories to the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation! Automatic deliverance for all those who surrender to it. After all, it was created and raised by Prabhupäda himself!

We all know this! Even though the movement is very different now from what he founded, it is being run in his name. It is automatically what he wanted, although he preached against anything and everything like this current monstrosity while he was with us. Nevertheless, we all know he must have wanted this!

As Mark Twain so aptly put it:

It ain’t what you don’t know that really hurts you.
It’s what you’re sure you know that just ain’t so.”


1 comment

1 bhaktaYarek { 11.12.19 at 14:07 }

This is a masterpiece of comparative studies. It reads like an intricate though very absorbing psychological thriller. Amongst those who are proposing in one way or another a freedom of “IsKcon” only Kailasacandra das Prabhu’s proposal is throughout and fully substantiated by studies of uncompromising quality and devotion. Param vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam!

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