KCD’s Monthly Podcast – June 2023

Podcast transcription:


[First Principles]

by Kailäsa Candra däsa


Gokulänanda, feel free to begin your questions.

Q: What is the basis of the Hare Kåñëa movement?

KCd: The basis is Vedic and Vaiñëava perfect authority.

Q: Of those two, which is the most important?

A: By far, it is Vaiñëava spiritual authority, which is automatically compatible with Vedic authority. You can consider Vaiñëava authority to be a branch of Vedic authority, but the more accurate description is that it is the cream of Vedic authority, because it is entirely transcendental.

Q: What is Vaiñëava spiritual authority?

A: It is the authority followed by adherents of Vedic philosophy, strictures, and practices. They hold Lord Viñëu to be the Supreme Controller over all other universal controllers. The word Vaiñëava directly indicates Lord Viñëu, Who is the prime creator of the universe. One who believes that Lord Viñëu is the Supreme Controller over all other created beings is known as a Vaiñëava.

Q: How do we then know what Lord Viñëu had given to these followers in terms of Vaiñëava philosophy, stricture, and practice?

A: The knowledge is transmitted through guru-paramparä, the line of disciplic succession. It must be a Vaiñëava paramparä in order for the knowledge to be bona fide, and it must also be unbroken in order for the teachings to be perfect.

Q: Is the Hare Kåñëa movement connected to the guru-paramparä?

A: It is connected to the guru-paramparä coming from Madhväcärya many thousands of years ago, that specific line.

Q: Since you say “that specific line,” is there more than one guru-paramparä?

A: According to the Padma Puräna, there are four lines of disciplic succession operating in this age, and the Madhva sampradäya is one of them.

Q: What is a sampradäya?

A: It is another name for a bona fide Vaiñëava guru-paramparä. It can, in a generic sense, refer to any line of disciplic succession that either has a Vedic connection or allegedly has one. In other words, bogus guru-paramparäs are also referred to as sampradäyas, although illegitimate.

Q: Is any Vedic sampradäya (that is genuine) automatically a Vaiñëava disciplic succession or sampradäya?

A: Negative. The Vaiñëava sampradäyas are the highest lines, and some other Vedic lines, authorized by dharma çästras, are subordinate to them.

Q: Does the Hare Kåñëa movement recognize Lord Viñëu as Supreme? Does it have its own sampradäya separate from the four Vaiñëava sampradäyas?

A: It both does and does not.

Q: Is that a contradiction?

A: It is an apparent contradiction, but, once it is properly explained and assimilated, the apparent contradiction is resolved.

Q: Are you able to resolve it?

A: Certainly. We begin with Madhväcärya on the human plane, although that sampradäya was begun previously by spiritual entities who are far superior to human beings. That is why the Madhva sampradäya is sometime referred to as the Brahma-Madhva sampradäya. Lord Brahma, the secondary creator of the universe, is the supra-human source of this specific guru-paramparä.

Q: Am I right to presume that the Hare Kåñëa movement has a link to the Brahma-Madhva sampradäya?

A: You are. Yet, the Hare Kåñëa movement, although linked to Madhväcärya, is specifically different from what became of another branch of the line previous to the guru known as Mädhavendra Puri. There was a split in the line before the manifestation of the Hare Kåñëa movement in the Fifteenth Century in India.

Q: Is it important to know the details of that split?

A: It is not, because we are not at all concerned about that other branch.

Q: Does that other branch have a name?

A: Affirmative. Its gurus and followers are known as Tattva-vädés. They are very strong in Karnataka, India. They operate differently from the Hare Kåñëa movement. They do worship a form of Lord Kåñëa, however, although their practices, history, and rituals are not the same as what is commonly known as the Hare Kåñëa movement.

Q: Is this why you said just earlier that the Hare Kåñëa movement both does and does not have a link to the Madhva sampradäya?

A: Affirmative.

Q: When did that second branch of the original Madhva guru-paramparä come into existence, and Who was its leader?

A: As aforementioned, it came into existence in the late Fifteenth Century. It was inaugurated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. As such, since He manifested in the area of India known as Gaud, the name of this branch of the Madhva line is known as the Brahma-Madhva Gauòéya Vaiñëava sampradäya. It is also called the Hare Kåñëa movement.

Q: So, the Hare Kåñëa line is really a fifth sampradäya?

A: Again, it both is and is not. It is not mentioned in the Padma Puräna, and does not have that prominent link to the Madhva line. Its prominent link is to the Supreme Lord Himself, Lord Caitanya.

Q: Do the other sampradäyas and even the Tattva-vädés recognize this fifth sampradäya or guru-paramparä as being bona fide?

A: Some do and some do not. Many if not most of the followers of the other lines, including the Tattva-vädés, do not accept that Lord Caitanya was a direct incarnation of the Supreme Lord Kåñëa in human form, posing as a devotee. The followers of the Hare Kåñëa movement do accept this, and they worship Him as such.

Q: Are those in the other lines who do not accept Him as the Supreme Lord manifest as a devotee in human form therefore offenders?

A: This is an extraneous issue and there is no need to be fanatic about it. They are worshiping Lord Viñëu, or Lord Narasiàha, or Lord Rämacandra or another expansion. They are rightly situated in doing so. And, again, the followers of the Tattva-vädés in Karnataka worship Lord Kåñëa, as does one of the other lines. A follower of the Hare Kåñëa movement can be aware of all of this but need not be very concerned about it.

Q: Did any of the other lines request that the Hare Kåñëa movement, once it gained momentum both during and after Lord Caitanya’s appearance, prove that is was bona fide according to a Vaiñëava standard?

A: That demand was made, and it was fulfilled by a later Äcärya in the guru-paramparä, Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa. He was a first-class scholar and empowered intellectual in Vaiñëava philosophy, as well as a Sanskrit scholar. Under the order of higher authority, he compiled the Gauòéya interpretation of Vedänta philosophy, and it is known as the Govinda-Bhäsya. This was a translation and commentary on Vedänta-sütra, which is considered the chief work of Vaiñëava higher knowledge and logic. The Vedänta-sütra is the Vedic literature which confronts and removes all apparent philosophical contradictions. With the emergence of Govinda-Bhäsya, the Madhva-Gauòéya Vaiñëava sampradäya secured standing amongst all the advanced devotees in the other lines, as well as similar recognition from Vedic followers who are not Vaiñëavas but approve of the Vaiñëava guru-paramparä.

Q: The Hare Kåñëa movement was a phenomena of India and Southeast Asia for centuries. Everyone acknowledges that the chief philosophy of the subcontinent strongly tends to emphasize liberation from saàsära in terms of merging into Brahman, which makes it very different from the theism of the West. Was Lord Caitanya’s philosophy different from this? Or does it advocate that we, as humans, are all ultimately and spiritually completely non-different from Brahman?

A: You are correct that the majority belief in the subcontinent is in the absolute non-difference of the liberated soul from the Supreme Absolute Truth when he or she is free from illusion. This philosophy is known as advaita or advaita Vedänta, complete and absolute oneness. There is a commentary on the Vedänta-sütra espousing this, and it was written by Çaìkäräcärya, an incarnation of Lord Çiva. It is the most popular commentary in India and has been for centuries. The Çaìkära guru-paramparä is predominant in that area of the world, and mostly it is also known as impersonal Mäyäväda philosophy there. It is not theistic, but is, instead, covertly atheistic. Lord Caitanya and His disciples have always been and remain staunchly opposed to Mäyäväda impersonalism.

Q: So the Hare Kåñëa movement is distinct and different from the dominant Vedänta philosophy of most yogés and Hindus in India?

A: It was and is very different. Although some of the Vedic literatures, such as most of the Upaniñads, emphasize impersonal liberation beyond the mahat-tattva (this liberation is known in Sanskrit as mukti), Lord Caitanya’s movement emphasizes devotional service and recognition of eternal subordination as the means to attain vimukti in the Godhead.

Q: What is vimukti?

A: It is liberation in spiritual planets via spiritual form and activity rather than the preliminary liberation attained by merging into the impersonal spiritual energy of the Godhead, which is the goal of impersonalism.

Q: As such, then the Hare Kåñëa movement is actually theistic?

A: It is a specific variety of theistic known as panentheism.

Q: Does that differ from the theism of, say, Christianity?

A: It does. Christian philosophy is monotheistic.

Q: Pantheism is distinctly condemned by Christianity. It opposes pantheism but still maintains that God only is everywhere and controlling everything directly, as He fights Satanic influence in such control. Is panenthesim a form of pantheism?

A: It is not. Pantheism says that all material things constitute what is God. It does not recognize any theism transcendental to material nature. This is non-Vedic, and it is not the philosophy of Vaiñëavism.

Q: Can panentheism be described or defined?

A: Certainly. It is the perfect philosophy that the Supreme or the Supreme Controller delegates the operation of the material world to millions of demigods, all of whom serve him in that way. He oversees and permits all that transpires but rarely interferes with their decisions and managerial powers. He is within everything in this way, but, although aware of everything in every sphere, He does not actuate anything but simply witnesses. This is the case except for rare interference, wherein He overrides a decision by a demigod. Monotheism, although obviously theistic, is distinctly different from this.

Q: Did Lord Caitanya produce a detailed explanation of His philosophy?

A: He did not. His direct and later disciples, however, most certainly did.

Q: Is it true that each of the lines of succession mentioned in the Padma Puräna–although they were all, obviously, guru-paramparäs representing panentheism–did each of them, compared to one another, also have a distinct and different emphasis of the perfect Vaiñëava philosophy?

A: Affirmative, and it was never advaita Vedänta.

Q: Are there Sanskrit names for these different philosophical emphases?

A: Affirmative. The Madhväcärya line is known as dvaita.

Q: Is that also what the guru-paramparä of the Caitanya sampradäya is called?

A: Actually, it has a different Sanskrit description from the Madhva line, although it shares the dvaita perspective that the jéva-tattva living entities are different from the Supreme Person or Supreme Controller.

Q: What is that different Sanskrit description?

A: The Sanskrit description of Lord Caitanya’s line is acintyä-bhedäbheda-tattva, which means inconceivable distinction and oneness of the living entities with the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Controller.

Q: Is it correct to presume that the power and momentum of the Hare Kåñëa movement started to become dominant during the lifetime of Lord Caitanya?

A: Such was the case, but it was limited to the Indian subcontinent.

Q: Did it wane after He disappeared?

A: Not immediately, because His disciples at that time were all very powerful, pure, and influential. However, in due course, it did wane.

Q: Is it important to know those details?

A: They were not emphasized by the guru who brought the Hare Kåñëa movement to the West. They are important if you are interested in them.

Q: Who was that guru?

A: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda. He decided to launch the Hare Kåñëa movement first in the United States.

Q: When did he bring the Hare Kåñëa movement to the West?

A: In 1965, although the Hare Kåñëa movement here did not actually begin to take form with initiated disciples until 1966.

Q: Why did it take so long for a guru, one who was part of the Madhva-Gauòéya sampradäya, to come to the West?

A: Vaiñëavism is very different from Western religion and mentality. Almost everything about it opposes the Western adventure. The predominant theism of the West, as practiced in America and Europe, is also not compatible with Vaiñëavism. Acceptance of Vaiñëavism requires an individual to be situated in the mode of goodness, but the entire West, with very rare exceptions, is populated by humans who are situated in the lower modes of passion and ignorance. Pure Vaiñëavism not only would not appeal to them, but they would be spontaneously against it.

Q: It took five centuries for a guru to bring the philosophy of Gauòéya Vaiñëavism to America. Was there something different or special in the mid-Twentieth Century which led to this unprecedented breakthrough?

A: Not in India, but in America, yes. It was the so-called Age of Aquarius, which actually has no astrological meaning in reality. That is besides the point, however. The hippie movement contained a slice of followers who were—to greater or lesser degrees—interested in Eastern philosophy and transcendence. It was a very small slice, but this sub-group of that hippie movement in general was open to radical detachment and some of the lifestyle from the East. This cracked open the door for Gauòéya Vaiñëavism to be introduced in the West, and Prabhupäda chose to introduce it in the United States of America, in New York City.

Q: How important were the hippies to the spread of Prabhupäda’s message?

A: The vast majority of them were not at all inclined to it in general, to its paradigm, or even to its terminology, except for some general concepts, such as karma and the white light, which were also shared by all the gurus who came to America from India. The basis of the hippie movement was a combination of psychedelic drugs, rock message music, free love, and defiance of all Western political and religious dogma prevalent in the mid-Sixties through the early Seventies. They all led unregulated lifestyles, but some of them were very detached about life in general, and that was helpful. All of the other disqualifications were, in and of themselves, not conducive to Vaiñëavism, and some of them were completely counter-productive to even an inclination to becoming a Vaiñëava. Nevertheless, there were special hippies who were Prabhupäda’s best potential customers, but they were in the minority of the hippie pseudo-religion. It was never all that unified at any time, despite the tune-out, tune-in, drop out motto, which was the pulse of the Peace and Love movement.

Q: You say: “hippie pseudo-religion.” What is the way to best understand this?

A: That movement was inspired by a mix of previous historical forces, combined with the tremendous social pressures present in that brief epoch, particularly the Vietnam War. Renaissance energy was part of it, and turn of the century Romanticism also was. The beat movement was its immediate predecessor, but what is not well known is that the daraveça sahajiyäs from India also were a subtle and covert influence, although much more difficult to trace out.

Q: So, the hippies in general were sahajiyäs?

A: Many of them were an unconscious, third-order simulacrum of the daraveças, one of the thirteen prominent sahajiyä groups in India.

Q: Did this factor in as to how the Hare Kåñëa movement eventually played out?

A: It certainly did.

Q: Can you explain that?

A: Eventually. Near the end of this Q&A, I shall offer that explanation.

Q: Did Prabhupäda’s movement attract Americans and Europeans from all age groups and all walks of life?

A: In the beginning and for quite some time, it certainly did not. Hardly any of his initial disciples from the first years were even over thirty years old, and this was especially true in the first two years as his movement expanded. Again, the chief walk of life that was attracted was the hippie, but only he or she who had an interest in the occult, in Eastern teaching, in transcendence, and in liberation from the fire and pangs of social entanglements and all the pressures intrinsic to it.


Q: Since the hippie lifestyle was, in almost all ways, opposed to the Vaiñëava lifestyle, did Prabhupäda have to be liberal in implementing it for his followers, especially in the beginning years?

A: In some ways, he was quite liberal. However, in other ways, he certainly was not, especially in relation to those who dedicated themselves and joined his temples in the West.

Q: Obviously, the four rules and regulations were difficult for most of these initial disciples, as well as converting to an austere and regulated lifestyle. Besides this conservative (in the spiritual, not the political, sense) change in their lifestyles, was there any other factor in which Prabhupäda was not liberal in his implementation of his Kåñëa consciousness movement?

A: Most definitely, there was one that was predominant: He commanded that he be worshiped as the direct emissary of the Supreme Lord. He commanded that he be adored on an opulent Vyäsasän, that püja mantras be chanted to him specifically, and that the supplication of obeisances from all of his disciples to him be paid in his presence, such as whenever he was on his opulent seat (known as a Vyäsasän), as well as when he first walked into any room in which his disciples were waiting for him, or when he arrived at an airport or any such similar circumstances.

Q: That kind of supplication and worship was completely anathema to the hippies, who were saturated in an attitude of defiance and rebellion, as you mentioned. For those who came to him with some attraction to his particular brand of Eastern thought, how was this accepted by them?

A: If it was not accepted, they came and quickly went. Prabhupäda’s liberality during his eleven years of physical manifestation should not be overemphasized. He was a my-way-or-the-highway Far East Man. He commanded that he be worshiped as you would worship Lord Kåñëa if He was manifest to human vision. Prabhupäda could make this demand, because he was an uttama-adhikäré on the highest level of that status. He had the full range of all mystic powers, although he rarely displayed them. He was a çaktyäveça-avatär, which means he was especially empowered by the bhakti-çakti, an exceptionally rare attainment.

Q: Did any of his Indian contemporaries receive this kind of worship?

A: I presume that you are referring to the other gurus who came to the West from either the subcontinent or from the Orient, representing some line of Mäyäväda, Hinduism, or Buddhism. None of them could command this kind of supplication, and none of them did. The majority of the hippies interested in transcendence, nirväna, mantras, liberation, and the white light went to them. Only the cream of the hippie crop went to Prabhupäda. However, that should not be misinterpreted to mean that they became free from their former tendencies, even though they supplicated themselves in awe and reverence to His Divine Grace. That some of them did not would be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in the late Seventies, beginning and especially by the Spring of 1978.

Q: I am more interested in the current situation of the Hare Kåñëa movement, although I certainly understand the importance of emphasizing (in your previous answers) the unbroken line of disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya which underpins ISKCON—or, rather, which is supposed to underpin it. Before we move on, is there any other point of emphasis you wish to make about the Madhva-Gauòéya Vaiñëava sampradäya—this particular guru-paramparä—any such further explanation which, in effect, summarizes its integral and essential importance?

A: Yes, two points. First, the knowledge and process for realization—and this includes the means of production—must be passed down from guru to disciple, from generation to generation, both carefully and perfectly. Prabhupäda often gave the example of ripened fruit at the top of the mango tree being passed down carefully from branch to branch in order to be delivered perfectly to the person receiving it at the ground level. As you know, this was not done in the Hare Kåñëa movement, although, to some extent, it was done in its early years.

Q: Agreed. What is that second point?

A: That, although you can say that the Hare Kåñëa movement is theistic (and it is so), there is no need to stress the religious aspect of it. It is far more of a cultural and philosophical movement than it is a religious movement. Understanding transcendence in the right way in terms of its highest feature does not require doting upon what the hoi polloi considers to be religion. There is monotheism, and it has its religious representation. There is pantheism, polytheism, henotheism, universalism, and Deism. Most of these have religious representations; for example, the early American founders were either Masons or Deists or both. These are religious and dogmatic representations, but Hare Kåñëa followers do not accept any of them. We don’t emphasize any of these religious isms as being important considerations in order to make spiritual advancement.

Q: Are you able to clarify this explanation a bit further?

A: Certainly. We emphasize transcendental Vaiñëava philosophy over such flawed religious concoctions, all of which are non-Vedic and diversionary misconceptions. They all are loaded with mistaken knowledge. The actual theistic conception is panentheism. The best summary of the Absolute Truth (in the context of the relation of the jéva spirit soul and the Supreme Lord) is acintyä-bhedäbheda-tattva, as mentioned earlier. Overall, the real philosophy is parinämaväda, which is superior and opposed to vivarta-väda or çünyaväda. When the transcendental perspective is cultural and philosophical—but still entirely personal—then everything is understood properly. Then, mundane religious antagonism (with all of its related factors) is eventually eliminated. Hare Kåñëa devotees–those who are not fanatics or sentimentalists–make this key discrimination and emphasis; they thus understand the essential importance of an unbroken guru-paramparä of the Gauòéya line in the right way.

Q: Was Prabhupäda’s movement the same as Lord Caitanya’s movement?

A: In terms of substance, certainly. However, it was only a branch of the Caitanya tree. It was a continuation of the sampradäya as a branch, one which was meant primarily for creating transcendental personalists in the Western countries.

Q: As a branch of the Supreme Absolute Truth, is it guaranteed to continue to exist at least through the remainder of Caitanya’s Golden Age?

A: It has no such guarantee. The way things have gone down in the past forty-plus years, the odds are against it turning the corner. It will probably be scattered and wiped out completely the way things are going. It has been scattering badly since the late Seventies.

Q: Is this scattering due to its not have been passed down carefully after the disappearance of this branch’s Founder in late 1977?

A: Certainly, that is a major factor. What transpired in the Spring of 1978 during the zonal äcärya imposition and takeover was the equivalent of a pseudo-spiritual smash and grab. It was tantamount to a deathblow, but, like many deathblows, it took awhile before it became self-evident to almost everyone that the ISKCON movement was being murdered.

Q: What were the other factors to this degradation?

A: There are a plethora of them, but I shall simply name two. The emergence of the plainclothes pick in the mid-Seventies was a factor. The anti-intellectual pulse which under-girded ISKCON culture throughout its entire existence (even before the zonal äcärya catastrophe) was another. Philosophy was never emphasized in the movement. In most cases, Hare Kåñëa devotees did not even discuss philosophy amongst themselves. This movement was meant to represent spiritual science with realized brähmins as its representatives, in conjunction with the higher intelligence prevalent in Vaiñëava devotional culture. For all practical purposes, it came nowhere near attaining that basic plane. If it had been in place, it would have prevented the zonal äcärya takeover in the late Seventies.

Q: Was stratification a major factor in its downward trajectory?

A: Absolutely. Its leaders converted Prabhupäda into an inaccessible figurehead, especially during the last three years of his manifest, physical presence. In the meantime, they secured the top two echelons of the institution via Machiavellian means in order to keep the rest of the movement’s members at lower levels. They became little more than gold-plated çüdras or quasi-vaiçyas out on the pick. Thus, the movement was almost exclusively made up of hard-core manipulators at the top completely controlling fanatics, sentimentalists, fools, and kick-mees beneath them, all of whom were totally surrendered to them and without any access to genuine Vaiñëava association. Fear, guilt, and doubt became prominent energies used by these rascal leaders in the guise of self-realized transcendentalists, which none of them were anywhere close to being.

Q: Was the true purpose of taking to Vaiñëavism lost in all of this?

A: Not only lost, but, in most cases, not even known! The purpose of joining any bona fide branch of the Hare Kåñëa movement is to become a siddha. Perfection while still in a human body is known as jévan-mukta. This was, as just mentioned, forgotten or unknown—or, worse yet, considered unattainable. The movement’s heavy-handed leaders were thought to be automatically blessed and empowered, although such was never the case. Another way of saying the same thing is that they were never the spiritual experts they pretended to be. Due to the institutional arrangement they created—which became more unauthorized even as Prabhupäda was still physically present—it became apparent that their expertise was in the matter of controlling all the bewildered neophytes under their institutional hammerlock in cult stratification.

Q: You mention the goal as a human was to become jévan-mukta. Is this the same as a mukta-jéva? Whether it is so or not, is Prabhupäda a mukta-jéva?

A: They are not the same. The jévan-mukta is still embodied. The mukta-jéva is not. Närada Muni is an example of a mukta-jéva. Prabhupäda is also available now that way for his devotees, especially at the time of death.

Q: Although we skipped over it so far, was the creation of the Governing Body Commission in 1970 meant to insure that none of this deviation, depredation, depravity, and decadence could possibly transpire?

A: Certainly, that was integral to its particulars. Paradoxically, ironically, and tragically, it facilitated the zonal äcärya imposition, and, when that cratered, the collegiate compromise of the mid-Eighties.

Q: Didn’t the zonal äcärya imposition minimize the power of the G.B.C.?

A: It rather drastically minimized the power of the commissioners who were not recognized as dékñä-gurus and did not receive exclusive zones from the G.B.C.. All eleven of the great pretenders were governing body commissioners, so their powers were greatly enhanced. They also managed to create an Äcärya Board within the G.B.C. which basically granted them immunity from all G.B.C. decisions that would have otherwise negatively impacted them. Yet, G.B.C. fingerprints are all over the creation of the zonal äcärya imposition. Without its imprimatur, the scam could not have been pulled off all that it did for the eight years it overlorded everybody before it cratered.

Q: Does the G.B.C. have an egregor?

A: When it was functioning under the direction of Prabhupäda and legislating according to his wishes, it did not. It was linked to Prabhupäda’s branch of the sampradäya during that time. Any material egregor—and they are all astral and occult in nature–has no such link. When it deviated, it became the vitiated G.B.C. An egregor for it was then created, which controlled its members. It is likely that none of them realized this, being overconfident as they were that they were the doers. That overconfidence was buttressed by the fact that they took complete control over virtually everybody in the movement so easily.

Q: Is it the right conception to assume that G.B.C. power was subordinate to the zonals during the period of their regime?

A: Affirmative. For all practical purposes, the eleven imitators of uttama-adhikäré, the popes of their individual zones and initial members of the unauthorized Äcärya Board, rendered G.B.C. power subordinate to them as a group. However, when guru scandals surfaced—and three of them did early on—individual gurus were chastised by the G.B.C., to greater or lesser extents. This was only because the other gurus not implicated in gross scandals cooperated in order to implement those chastisements to T.K.G., Hansadutta, and Jayatértha, who were jeopardizing the whole pretense of the zonal imposition by their outrages.

Q: Weren’t some of the other governing commissioners, those who were not recognized as dékñä-gurus and given zones, demanding similar status?

A: That is accurate history. Svarüpa Dämodara, who was the only dissenting voice in the creation of the zonal äcärya imposition, paradoxically lobbied hard in Atlanta to be recognized also as a dékñä-guru in the Spring of 1978. Others did, as well. One sannyäsé, an outsider when it came to the G.B.C. (and never a member of it), declared himself a dékñä-guru (he already had a significant number of disciples) and awarded himself the title of Prabhupäda. Yet, it took many years before the G.B.C. approved the expansion of dékñä-gurus by voting them in as such. This required a watering down of the zonal boundaries, obviously, and none of the first eleven gurus were keen on giving up their share of the worldwide pie. Of course, some territory opened up when Jayatértha crossed the river to join Swämé B.R. Çrédhar of Gauòéya Mutt and Hansadutta was de facto excommunicated in May of 1983.

Q: Requiring curtailment of their powers, even though temporary for T.K.G. and very temporary for Hansadutta, how did the G.B.C. rationalize uttama-adhikärés engaging in scandalous activities and sexual falldowns?

A: It claimed that the disciples of these new gurus should see that their spiritual masters had become sick, needed treatment, and would get healthy in due course of time, although that did not pan out very well. Also, during this period in general, a book entitled “Guru Reform Notebook” was penned by one of the original eleven great pretenders, one of the two chief scribes of the fabricated institution.

Q: Once this colossal hoax went down, did ISKCON get converted into something else or did it continue to purely exist despite all the flotsam covering it?

A: An astute question. Beginning in 1974, ISKCON existed in a compromised way to some extent even while Prabhupäda was still physically manifest. Corporate ISKCON has obviously existed everywhere since 1966, but somewhat gradually and insidiously, another creeper came into existence. It was disguised as being ISKCON or Prabhupäda’s branch, but it was actually engaged in checking and strangling the real thing. This was the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation, which came to complete dominance in the Spring of 1978. There is an argument to be made that it killed the ISKCON movement, although not immediately, via that zonal äcärya deathblow.

Q: Does Prabhupäda’s branch of the Hare Kåñëa movement still exist?

A: As an international institution functioning according to his directives and wishes, it does not. His teachings still exist, although they are being attacked, to some extent, by book changes, beginning with the Lichenstein Gétä in 1983, as well as the bogus commentaries to the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Canto of the Bhägavat by the other scribe. In summary, his branch is now hanging on by a thread. It is in grave danger of being completely scattered and lost in the near or intermediate future.

Q: Were the second and later waves of G.B.C. approved gurus also taking uttama-adhikäré worship? Were they being given praëäm mantras and their pictures also worshiped on the altars?

A: Affirmative. The First Transformation of the movement was the zonal imposition, which was modified when the number of gurus were expanded. Yet, all such gurus in good standing were to be seen and worshiped by their disciples as uttama-adhikärés. Altar desecration expanded, and the group psychosis continued for some time. Some of the first echelon men who bellyached eventually got over, but that was no solution at all. They then became integral to the problem and just as implicated and liable for condemnation.

Q: Due to the exposure of egregious behavior on the part of some of the more audacious men of that first wave of high-flying gurus, was the unauthorized pretension put into jeopardy? And, related to this question, what was the root of all of that defiant behavior in the first place?

A: The root was discussed earlier in our Q&A: It was the fact of their real faces coming out. They had not changed their characters. Their superficial pretenses were no longer able to hide their causal and astral conditioning. In other words, at heart, they were still hippies, and the blatant defiance of Prabhupäda’s orders manifested in the form of self-apotheosis, which was not a rare manifestation amongst the most egregious players in the hippie religion. However, as stated by Hansadutta directly to your host speaker in the late Eighties on the front deck of the Mount Kailäsa property in Northern California: “We went way too far, and we couldn’t pull it off.” Too many of them went outside the lines, created scandals, and their affairs with concubine disciples became exposed. That finally provoked many questions—which should have been asked by everybody no later than April of 1978, but weren’t. It put the whole mahäbhägavat worship regime in jeopardy, eventually cratering it. This transpired, in no small part, due to the powerful position papers of Ravéndra Svarüpa, who let it be known, whenever he had the opportunity to do so, that he was never a hippie.

Q: What to do now?

A: Return to square one, that’s what! “ISKCON” is too corrupt and contaminated to do anything close to this, so it should be abandoned to its own devices. If the G.B.C. had the stones to follow the path of the Politburo, then “ISKCON” could be given some reconsideration . . . maybe. Neo-Mutt must be avoided by all means. It has no connection to Prabhupäda’s branch of the Caitanya tree. It is nothing more than Saturday’s child of Gouòéya Mutt, which Prabhupäda has specifically labeled as asära or useless. The rittviks are Prabhupäda centered, granted, but in the wrong way. They must be made to see that their heresy can never usher in the rejuvenated manifestation of the real Golden Age of Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu.

Most importantly, these two apa-sampradäyas that have some reflected resemblance to being part of Prabhupäda’s branch of the guru-paramparä—and that does not include Neo-Mutt—must acknowledge that neither bogus gurus nor bogus initiation processes can be transmitters of genuine initiation by the bhakti-latä-béja to and for any of the unfortunates who have accepted such ceremonial pretenses. They are all improperly initiated, and they need to wake up to this stark and painful fact. They need to free themselves from all institutional delusions, and take necessary steps to get back to the actual Vaiñëava culture, the actual philosophy, the actual process, and recognize the real history of what went down and why before it’s too late.


1 comment

1 Meesala Gopikrishna { 06.01.23 at 11:58 }

The latest missive cum podcast Q & A First Principles by Kailasa Candra Dasa concisely goes into the historical manifestation and subtleties of “ISKCON” deviations in relation to various philosophical ideas. Kailasa Candra Dasa comes up with sagacious and thought provoking answers to the series of astute questions so as to benefit the listeners and readers by coming to grips with the truth. Finally Kailasa Candra Dasa reveals with realization that “ISKCON” will never revert to Return to Square One as it already stands on a damaged platform which is far-fetched from the bona fide Krishna Consciousness as initially laid down by Srila Prabhupada.

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