ISKCON: From the Absolute Truth to Insanity…
Srila Prabhupada has given us the greatest gift. The absolute truth. Krishna consciousness, pure love of Krishna. He explains in great detail the simple and beautiful philosophy of Krishna consciousness. It is this beauty, perfection and simplicity of the timeless philosophy of Krishna consciousness so perfectly presented by Srila Prabhupada which attracted me to Krishna consciousness.
Over the years, to my great dismay, I have seen ISKCON systematically reject, misinterpret and now, with the book changes, change the teachings of Srila Prabhupada to suit their own ends. We have seen ISKCON introduce “political correctness”, love for the Mayavadis, Hinduization, the Gurudevis and Sannyasinis, centralized management, an insane Deity worship system, the book changes, the destruction of the brahmacari ashram, the destruction of the gurukul system, an so much other insanity and destruction that it is impossible to list without writing an encyclopedia…
Of course ultimately these rejections of the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and the introduction of concocted new ideas by the GBC are all centered around the main ISKCON deviation, and that is the ISKCON guru tattva… Actually there is no ISKCON guru philosophy that can be supported by any sastric evidence. Every year the GBC set up a new ‘Guru Sastra Research Committee’ and give them the task of proving that what they are doing is bona fide according to the sastra. But of course none of these ‘Guru Sastra Research’ committees can ever come up with anything that justifies what the ISKCON gurus are doing. Because it is insane.
The current ISKCON guru tattva is simply that anyone in ISKCON can become a guru provided he or she has some aspiring disciples and that none of the GBC members object to him or her becoming a guru. That’s it. There are no qualifications required at all. Bhakti Vikasa Swami, who presents himself as a strict follower, is lobbying the GBC to add ‘strict following’ to their currently nonexistent list of qualifications ISKCON gurus need to have. But he does not mean strictly following Prabhupada unfortunately. He means getting out of bed before 4:00 in the morning and practicing some austerities and not eating too much and following the regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds a day. You know, the things that every bhakta has to agree to do before he moves into the temple… We have seen many devotees ‘strictly following’ these principles for some time over the years. But this ‘strict following’ does not prove anything. We see so many of these devotees ‘strictly following’ for some years then falling into maya. The Mayavadis strictly follow, much more so than the ISKCON devotees do, but Mayavadis never become devotees. So ‘strict following’ really, in itself, does not prove anything at all.
Of course a real devote does strictly follow, but just because someone is strictly following does not prove he is a real devotee and it certainly does not prove that he is qualified to accept disciples!
The demons who understand they can become powerful by following the Vedic system also strictly follow. You will not find a more strict follower than Hiranyakasipu, but his ‘strict following’ was to gain strength so he could ultimately kill Visnu. Of course Hiranyakasipu could not kill Visnu, but he did become very, very strong through his ‘strict following.’
One who really does strictly follow everything Srila Prabhupada says is a pure devotee, a liberated soul and a perfect spiritual master, that is a different thing… and that is very rare…
Of course, the GBC will never add ‘strict following’ to their non-existent list of qualifications for becoming an ISKCON guru. They absolutely do not require ISKCON gurus to follow anything strictly. Their idea is everything goes as long as the gurus don’t get caught. And even if they get caught that is also OK as long as they can cover it up and the disciples don’t find out… They knew Prabhuvisnu “Swami” was collecting guru daksine from his followers and going to Thailand and Bangkok and spending it on prostitutes. He got caught at least three times over a period of more than ten years, but this is fine according to the GBC, he is a bona-fide ISKCON guru, because they were able to cover it up. It only becomes a problem if they can’t cover it up…
So with this background we can understand why ISKCON is quite desperate to keep their existing ‘guru tattva’ (anyone can be an ISKCON guru as long as no one on the GBC objects to them becoming a guru). Of course this means rejecting everything Srila Prabhupada and Krishna teach us about guru. And it also means redefining the philosophy of Krishna consciousness into something that is no longer logical. The philosophy ISKCON preaches today does not make sense therefore thoughtful people can not accept such rubbish.
Every ISKCON temple strongly preaches that the guru does not have to be a liberated soul, he does not have to be free from the bondage of the three modes of material nature. Conditioned souls in the material world are not free. They are bound by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance which are compared with three very strong ropes twisted together. So you can imagine a man completely tied up with these three very strong ropes. He is absolutely not liberated. And you can imagine that man “preaching” to another conditioned soul who is also bound up with those three strong ropes and he is boasting, “I am a guru, surrender to me, wash my feet, if you please me I will untie your ropes for you…” But how can this foolish bogus guru untie the ropes of anyone else? His own hands and legs are completely bound up and tied up. He is completely incapable of untying the ropes that bind another person, he can not even free himself.
But some fools will go along with this bogus ISKCON guru, give him money, wash his feet and go to Hell with him…
So let us hear some perfect knowledge from a perfectly liberated soul, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada which if you dare to repeat in an ISKCON temple you will be very quickly shown the door…
“Another meaning of gu?a is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated. Therefore, only Lord K???a, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature.” (from Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Bhagavad-gita 7.14)
This is such a perfect and logical philosophy, it is the truth, the absolute truth:
A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated.
It is insanity to say a conditioned “guru” can free another conditioned soul from illusion. The guru himself is in illusion. It is the blind guru guiding the blind disciple. There can be no auspicious result from this. This is such a clear point but the ISKCON gurus and devotees reject it. But one can not reject Srila Prabhupada and concoct another philosophy “the bound can free the bound therefore you should accept a conditioned soul as your guru…” and preach this in ISKCON in the name of Srila Prabhupada.
“Janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah [Bg. 4.9]. One who knows in truth how Krsna is appearing, how Krsna is disappearing, he is learned. He is learned in the spiritual science, and for him, as soon as he becomes learned, well-versed in the spiritual science, Krsna science, he immediately becomes liberated. Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms, yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya [Cc. Madhya 8.128]. Because one who has understood Krsna in truth, he is liberated person. Therefore he is guru. Guru cannot be a conditioned soul. Guru must be liberated. Because without complete knowledge of Krsna, without being free from the contamination of the three modes of material nature… One cannot understand Krsna on account of his being engrossed with these three material modes of nature. And Krsna says, “One who understand Me rightly, he becomes immediately free.” Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9].” (710216LE.GOR)
This is our siddhanta, our philosophy, “Guru cannot be a conditioned soul. Guru must be liberated. Because without complete knowledge of Krsna, without being free from the contamination of the three modes of material nature one can not understand Krsna.”
Again, if you dare to mention this fact in ISKCON you will be very quickly thrown out of the temple….
But it is only logical. We want to become liberated. We want to become free from the control of the modes of material nature, we want to become pure devotees of Krishna, because it is only by becoming pure devotees of Krishna that we can reestablish our eternal loving relationship with Krishna and again be reinstated in our original constitutional position as a servant of Krishna. So we have to find a guru who is already liberated, who is already a pure devotee of Krishna so he can guide us and help us to achieve the same success that he has already achieved himself.
Of course ISKCON have a quote, only one quite, from Srila Prabhupada, and they say: “Prabhupada Said:” “A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples.” This is the “justification” ISKCON gives for its philosophy that conditioned souls can be gurus… But this is a typical example of ISKCON taking a statement from Srila Prabhupada completely out of context and using it to establish exactly the opposite thing that Srila Prabhupada is really saying.
This quote from Srila Prabhupada is taken from his purport to Nectar of Instruction Text 5. The whole paragraph reads like this:
“In this verse Srila Rupa Gosvami advises the devotee to be intelligent enough to distinguish between the kanistha-adhikari, madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari. The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given some practical hints to the effect that an uttama-adhikari Vaisnava can be recognized by his ability to convert many fallen souls to Vaisnavism. One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari. A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master.”
One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari. A neophyte Vaisnava or a Vaisnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master.
Just see how dishonest ISKCON is!!! This is their “proof” that conditioned souls can be spiritual masters! Actually this is a warning to the devotees not to become spiritual masters unless they are uttama-adhikaris and a warning not to accept a spiritual master unless he is an uttama-adhikari.
Honestly I find it ridiculous that one has to even write an article like this. How could anyone be so stupid as to accept a guru who he knows is a conditioned soul? This is insanity. If you can’t understand the basic fundamental principle that if you want to learn something you have to find a teacher who is qualified in that art, then you are an idiot, with all due respect. It is something like if you want to become a lawyer, but you can not find a lawyer to teach you so you accept a street-sweeper as your teacher and you ask him to teach you law. How can a street-sweeper teach you law? He does not know the science, he is not a lawyer…
We approach a guru because we want to become liberated from the material concept of life. But if the so-called guru is also a conditioned soul he can not help us to become liberated. This is just plain and simple. Just like a street-sweeper can not help you become a lawyer, a conditioned soul can not help you become liberated…
Who is such a fool that they can not understand this????
Another example is a man drowning in the ocean. The ocean is very rough and the waves are very strong. If there is another man there who can’t swim himself but is making a big show saying, “I will save that drowning man…” But how can he save that drowning man? He can not swim himself. So what will happen if he jumps into the water to try to save the drowning man? They will both drown. He will not be able to save the other man and he will loose his own life in the attempt.
This is another argument the ISKCON gurus put. They say “the people need gurus, someone has to do this service, so I am doing this service. Yes, I am a conditioned soul but someone has to be guru!!!” They do not realize, like the noble man who wanted to save the drowning man, but who could not swim himself so he could not save the drowning man, they can not help the people who need gurus unless they are themselves liberated souls… To be a guru one has to be liberated. A conditioned soul can not be a guru. Because people come to a guru so they can get help from the guru to become liberated themselves. So if a “guru” is not liberated he is a cheater. He is presenting himself as someone who can help but he can not even help himself.
So ISKCON ignore, reject, misinterpret and twist everything Prabhupada says about the guru to try and ‘prove’ that conditioned souls can become gurus. In this way they have rejected Prabhupada. Of course Srila Prabhupada is not saying anything on his own strength. He is simply a messenger. And he has received the pure message of Krishna consciousness in the disciplic succession from his spiritual master and in this way the message is coming directly from Krishna through Srila Prabhupada. So rejecting Prabhupada means rejecting Krishna. So naturally we find ISKCON also reject the very basic and fundamental teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)
This is the basic fundamental philosophy that underlies the whole concept of Krishna consciousness. One must learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. One must inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.
Like I have already said, I should not have to explain such simple things. This is Krishna consciousness 101, and ISKCON completely rejects it. The do not like it. But even though ISKCON do not like it and they want you to accept a conditioned soul as your guru, if you do this that will destroy your spiritual life. Because the bound can not free the bound, the rescuer must be liberated. So you can know it very clearly that a conditioned soul can not help you to become liberated… He is bound up by the modes of material nature and the bound can not free the bound. the rescuer has to be liberated…
And of course, if you have been reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, you will know that one can not become a devotee until he is liberated. So liberation is only the beginning of devotional service…
There are thousands and thousands of statements in Prabhupada’s books that confirm what I am saying here. This is the truth. The guru must be a liberated soul. And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Someone who is not liberated does not have the capacity to help you become liberated.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!