ISKCON Srila Prabhupada animatedly illustrating a point during class

Published on January 12th, 2005 | by mike-duncan | Full size image

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ISKCON suffering from a lack of Spiritual Understanding

Unfortunately, in todays so-called Iskcon, spiritual understanding is conspicuous by its absence. Because of their inobservance to the clear instructions of His Divine Grace on the subject of initiation, both spoken and written, these “disciples” have all received the same fate as their predecessors in the Gaudiya Matha As stated by Prabhupada, …

Dear Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeiances
All Glories to His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada

Please allow me to impose a few thoughts upon your busy schedules. As both of you have recently become official leaders in the community, I am hopeful that you are resigned to help solve the problems which exist, not only at here, but throughout all of Iskcon. Although they do not know it, the entire population of the world is depending on this movement for their salvation.

A few weeks ago, there was a meeting at my house attended by Bir Krsna Maharaja. At that time I asked Maharaja if he knew of Bhakti Caru Swami`s lecture at New Vrndavan a few weeks prior in which he disclosed the fact that the GBC is privately admitting the failure of the present (unauthorized) guru system. At that lecture Bhakti Caru informed the congregation that he was working on a new system of initiation fashioned after the Madhavacarya system. It so happens that this Madhavacarya system is a ritvik system. Bir Krsna answered that he had not heard of that instance but he did acknowledge that the GBC was trying to come up with something that might work and he said that he was also working on an alternative system fashioned after the Ramanuja initiation system, also a variation of ritvik. Of course I asked the obvious question. Why not just follow the direction and instruction of our spiritual master? No reply. Meanwhile, its business as usual; initiating people into a phony system, taking their money, ruining the opportunity of their lives. Its just another day at the office. Don`t worry, just read Prabhupada`s books and go back to Godhead. But in the meantime surrender to me; surrender your affection, your attention, your money and your lives unto me. Wow, absolutely unbelievable. I have written a few lines on the subject of real surrender, real initiation and the responsibility of a real disciple. Please indulge to me a few minuets of your time.

The subject of surrender is an extremely serious one for it is the point in one`s life where from he entrusts his future well being to the direction and instruction of a superior authority. It is the duty then of the qualified authority to lead his subordinate to the Supreme Authority, Krsna. Indeed, no one has ever reached the shelter of the Supreme Lord without having received the mercy of His authorized representative. The process of receiving, understanding, and surrendering to the instructions of such a pure soul is called initiation. The formality is much less important. Upon accepting initiation, the authentic disciple accepts the responsibility of assimilating the essence of instruction from the spiritual master and if he is successful he reaches the conclusion of sastra. By understanding the deep meaning of the Vedic conclusion and by practicing the techniques of devotional service learned from the transcendental vani of the bona fide guru, he receives the mercy of guru and God, which is manifest as revelation of transcendental knowledge by which he is able to re-establish his lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is, always has been and always will be situated in our hearts.

His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada, is the authorized authority from whom all devotees are taking instruction, so all devotees should understand his description of real initiation, which is as follows: “According to Vedic civilization, one is offered a sacred thread as a sign of second birth. One takes his second birth by dent of having received instruction in the sastra from a bonna fide spiritual master. Therefore sastra, scripture, is the real father. In offering initiation, our Krsna conscious movement asks one to come to the conclusion of sastra by taking the advice of the supreme speaker of sastra, Krsna, forgetting the principles of materialistic way of life.” (6-5-20) “The spiritual master teaches the disciple how to give up materialistic life and it is the duty of the disciple to assimilate his instructions.”(6-5-21)

Upon successfully assimilating the instructions of His Divine Grace, the disciple understands that Srila Prabhupada has given instructions for a wide range of individuals who possess various degrees of capabilities for understanding. Since the mercy of the Lord is the only factor needed for elevated understanding, the mundane capabilities of understanding can easily be transcended at the point of full surrender. The devotee then becomes situated in spiritual understanding. This is the transcendental platform of self-realization, in which a devotee easily understands everything by the arrangement of Supersoul. Srila Prabhupada: “In the beginning, the senses are engaged in the service of the spiritual master and sastra, and after realization, when the same senses are purified, the engagement continues; the difference is, in the beginning, the senses are engaged in a mechanical way, and after realization they are engaged in spiritual understanding.” (4-9-6) “Spiritual understanding means understanding the self and the Superself.” (Bg. 4-38)

Unfortunately, in todays so-called Iskcon, spiritual understanding is conspicuous by its absence. Because of their inobservance to the clear instructions of His Divine Grace on the subject of initiation, both spoken and written, these “disciples” have all received the same fate as their predecessors in the Gaudiya Matha As stated by Prabhupada, as soon as his god brothers claimed, without authority, to be successor diksa gurus, they all fell to the mundane platform. Similarly, because the “leaders” in Iskcon continue to predicate their false positions as successor diksa gurus for all eternity, many well meaning and unsuspecting members of the movement simply accept what they are being told. These members are not completely without blame, however, as their mistake was, and continues to be, failure to investigate. Even now that “Iskcon” can clearly be seen as having failed, at least up to this point in time, these followers and supporters of unauthorized gurus are making decisions which effect the lives of others, without honestly and open mindedly investigating the facts. They are speaking from the platform of ignorance, and with contempt for those who are trying to speak the truth for the benefit of the world. As stated by the English philosopher, Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That is contempt prior to investigation.”

 

For these supporters of unauthorized authorities, the era of innocence is wearing thin. “After death the result of an action is equally shared by its doer, its director and its supporter.”(4-21-26) “By seeing the result, one can understand the cause.” “Those who mislead others go to hell and their followers go with them.”(6-7-14)

As both of you have accepted positions of leadership in this community, you should and must be aware of the graveness of your responsibility This community was established by Srila Prabhupada for the spiritual advancement of its members and to show all observers an example for the spiritual progress of everyone. Just to have some ambition for material improvements is not fulfillment of the responsibility of leadership. Spiritual advancement completely depends on receiving the mercy of Guru and God; which becomes manifest in the form of spiritual understanding, or self-realization It is the responsibility of leadership to insure that everyone is at least qualified to receive such mercy. The first qualification is to be properly situated in, or to accept the parampara succession. The pathetic state of existence of present day Iskcon is a clear indication of its failure to allow its members to take direct shelter of His Divine Grace, even though that is his clear written, signed and documented instruction. If a so-called disciple does not believe Prabhupada`s July 9th instruction, he should explain why, although there is no explanation or excuse for a disciple to disobey the order of his guru. But if one insist on ignoring Prabhupada`s instruction, he should explain his position, but only after executing a complete, honest and open-minded investigation. The other option is to do what more and more devotees are doing every day; simply surrender to the instructions of jagad-guru. The intelligent disciple, having full faith in the words of Guru and God accepts everything on the strength of their instruction. “It is the duty of the disciple to follow strictly the order of the spiritual master. The secret of success of advancement in spiritual life is the faith of the disciple in the order of the spiritual master.”(Adi 12, text 8) “When disciples do not stick to the order of the spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the order of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate material concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation.”(Adi 12, text 9)

One should not be intimidated by the fact that so many GBC`s and “gurus” speak in concert that which is not factual, after all, Srila Prabhupada is the only disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta who actually obeyed him. Our first consideration of guru-aparadha or Vaisnava-aparadha should and must be Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada teaches that the center of all policy making and direction of our lives must be the Vedic literature. To stress the point, he says that even if he does not speak according to the Vedas, he is not to be accepted: “The actual center is sastra, the revealed scripture. If the spiritual master (or anyone else, including the GBC) does not speak according to scripture he is not to be accepted. The same applies to the saintly person. The sastra is the center for all. Only through the revealed scripture can all conditioned soul receive knowledge.”( Madhya, 20 text 352)

So the GBC`s claim to be the final authority does not over ride the authority of sastra Even if they were legitimate, they would be the authority only as long as they are speaking and acting according to scripture, which as previously stated by Prabhupada, is our real spiritual father. We learn from scripture that no one can become an authentic successor spiritual master in parampara without receiving the order from their guru. The only exception is when a person, by the grace and direct order from Krsna Himself, becomes self-effulgent by successfully spreading the holy name and Krsna consciousness all over the world. Srila Prabhupada has done that. His self-proclaimed successors have succeeded only in undoing that which Prabhupada has accomplished. Numbers do not lie. A 95% decrease in devotee population, and book distribution, changing the sacred scripture; the list goes on and on. . The mission of this movement is to elevate the consciousness of the fallen conditioned souls of the world. Srila Prabhupada had made great progress toward this end, but the mission has been made ever more difficult because of a terrible reputation due to unmentionable events. Now we are selling Prabhupada`s property to pay for those sins. But still we are remaining arrogantly ignorant to the root cause of all these problems. We are stupidly following those who are to blame, even though they refuse to change or admit their deviation. Prabhupada repeatedly asked his disciples to at least maintain what he has established, but they have succeeded only in constructing a logjam, blocking the flow of mercy from Guru and Govinda, Without that mercy, everything is a useless waist of time. All the money and manipulation of material energy in the world will not help.

How can there be any doubt as to the cause of the failure of this boat of stone, still referred to as Iskcon? And how can any sincere soul foolishly continue to serve unauthorized persons who are acting against the instructions of Prabhupada and who do not, themselves, believe what they are asking us to believe? One should take a hint from Prabhupada`s description of why the Gaudiya Matha failed: “Why this Gaudiya Math failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He, before passing away, he gave all direction and never said that “This man should be next acarya.” But these people, just after his passing away they began to fight, who shall be acarya. That is failure. They never thought, Why Guru Maharaja gave us instructions so many things, why he did not say this man should be acarya?” They wanted to create artificially somebody acarya and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Maharaja wanted to appoint somebody as acarya, why he did not say? He said so many things and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it” Any truthful, pure hearted soul can see what happened to Iskcon by reading these words of Prabhupada concerning the Gaudiya Matha. We are more fortunate than the members of Gaudiya Matha because Srila Prabhupada did leave for us plain, written, signed and documented instructions on how initiations were to be conducted. It is known as the July 9th letter. This is Prabhupada`s will and it is our duty to execute it. “To divide the useful from the useless, one must measure the activities of such disciples in executing the will of the spiritual master.”(Adi 12, text 12) Please believe it is not my desire to criticize or offend anyone. The graveness of the world situation demands that the facts be presented as they are, and the truth be spoken in a straight and forward way for the benefit of others.

There exists, in this day and time, a wonderful opportunity for pleasing Srila Prabhupada. There is no better way to receive the mercy, protection and association of Krsna than to please His pure representative. This rare and real opportunity exists for anyone who has the qualification of unflinching faith in the words of spiritual master and sastra. “Anyone can become successful in devotional service provided he displays no duplicity. One must be very frank and open-minded. He must be open, frank and free from reservations.”(4-21-33) When a devotee abandons all personal ambition, and simply surrenders to the instructions of the spiritual master, everything becomes easy and successful and he very quickly re-establishes his direct contact with Krsna

To re-establish our association with Krsna is the reason for initiation, it is the goal and the reason for all Vedic study and assimilation and indeed it is the goal and the object of constantly engaging in devotional service to the Lord. “The whole bhakti-yoga process is a revival of our lost relationship with Krsna.”(2-3-1) If one does not take this goal of life seriously, if he places more value on social convenience and economic development than self-realization and fulfilling the will of the spiritual master, he should not accept a position of leadership in a spiritual society. “This ignorance of self-realization is the greatest defeat in human life.”(5-1-1) We have already seen the results of mundane leadership. This movement, and this community are presently blinded by blasphemy and they cannot stand any more of the same. “If one is overestimated, glorification is just another form of blasphemy.”(Madhya 10, text 82) So I am hopeful that you will rise to the occasion and accept the true, transcendental path of faithfully following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Instead of selling trees which will be needed for building homes for devotees, and instead of selling land which will someday (maybe very soon) be needed for survival, you should have told the so-called GBC to pay for their own sins and advise them to save themselves by admitting their deviation and directing their disciples to the real spiritual master. By doing so, all good things will come by the grace of Krsna, and without separate effort.

Prabhupada: “When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the instructions of the spiritual master. As for as material conveniences are concerned, they automatically follow, just as the maidservants of the queen follow the queen wherever she goes.”

Hoping this finds you in good health and high spirits.
Y/S, mike duncan

 

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