Published on August 24th, 2021 | by Madhudvisa dasa
ISKCON Poisoned by Mayavadis in USA 1970 — Following Srila Prabhupada Part 2
Regarding the poisonous effect in our Society, it is a fact and I know where from this poison tree has sprung up and how it affected practically the whole Society in a very dangerous form. (Prabhupada letter to Hansadutta September 2, 1970)
You might have read this quote and wondered what Srila Prabhupada was talking about. This incident is not discussed in ISKCON and does not appear in any of the official ISKCON history books.
If you wanted to understand exactly what the poison Prabhupada is referring to was and how it was inflicted on ISKCON in 1970, until now, it would be very difficult to discover the details.
Fortunately Yadubara Prabhu of ISKCON Cinema found and interviewed many of the devotees who witnessed first-hand this poisoning of ISKCON by sannyasis infected by Mayavada philosophy in 1970.
These were ISKCON sannyasis, leading men in Prabhupada’s movement, whose activities Srila Prabhuapda considered so offensive that he felt he had to leave the USA and did not return for almost two years.
So this second part of Following Srila Prabhupada starts with the very inspiring and uplifting fabulous 1970 Ratha Yatra festival in London. In 1970 ISKCON was exploding in London, but unfortunately, across the ocean, in the United States, the movement was being devastated by the most virulent type of poison.
After becoming totally enlivened by the 1970 London Ratha Yatra Festival we go to San Francisco, New Jagannatha Puri. Here we see devotees preparing for the Ratha Yatra festival and Srila Prabhupada arriving. But when the Rathayatra day comes everything is going wrong. The Black Panthers attack the festival, Lord Balaram’s cart collapses, Lady Subhadra’s cart’s axle almost breaks, but is somehow rectified and able to continue. Then Prabhupada arrives late, after being purposely delayed by his disciples, and then things, of course, go more smoothly, after Prabhupada’s arrival.
After the San Francisco Ratha Yatra we go to New Vrindavan for the 1970 Sri Krishna Janmastami festival and Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day. By this time Prabhupada has already left the United States, the scene of what he considers the offensive activities of the leaders of his society. He is now in Japan organizing the printing of hundreds of thousands of books for the next stage of his preaching in India.
So many things are going on at this festival at New Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada has just established the GBC [ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission] and this festival is the venue for the first meeting of the GBC. There is also a meeting of all the North American Temple Presidents going on. And also there are four very prominent ISKCON leading Sannyasis there, totally contaminated by Mayavada philosophy, preaching their newly invented philosophy very vigorously. It gets quite ugly and the assembled Vaisnavas, who all came there for Prabhupada, become totally devastated by the Mayavada preaching of these sannyasis. It is a disaster. So many devotees are devastated, crying, and even leaving the movement.
Ultimately the GBC sense a problem with the preaching of the sannyasis and decide to lock them up. So the sannyasis are put in a van and wisked away and locked up in an attic somewhere by Bhagavan das.
It is an amazing story. Never before told, as far as I am aware, in such clarity by the devotees who personally witnessed everything that happened first-hand.
Then we go with Srila Prabhupada and the devotees who accompanied him to India and see the amazing start of his Indian preaching mission.
This is truly an incredible film. Very ecstatic beginning in London and ending in India with a very painful section in the United States in the middle.
So I encourage you to watch this whole film, for the ecstasy and for an ISKCON history lesson that you may not be able to get anywhere else. Please take the time and watch it all the way through. You will be very glad that you did.
It is all transcendental nectar. So please make the time to watch it. It is a great education in Krishna consciousness and an inspiration to see how Srila Prabhuapda spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.