Thursday, September 4, 2014

Motivated by Power, Not Philosophy

The GBC claim that allowing Srila Prabhupada to remain as ISKCON's diksa guru, which it calls "the posthumous rtvik initiation theory", must be banished for being a "dangerous" philosophy:

"The GBC hereby declares that the posthumous ritvik initiation theory is a dangerous philosophical deviation. It is therefore totally prohibited in ISKCON."
(GBC Resolution 1990-73)

Claiming that it was the desire of GBC member HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") to uphold the above-mentioned GBC resolution, ISKCON UK Headquarters Bhaktivedanta Manor ("BM") issued the following banning letter to anyone who accepted that Srila Prabhupada continues to act as ISKCON's diksa guru:

"It is the desire of the local ISKCON, UK Charity Board of Directors, chaired by His Holiness Sivarama Swami, that I strictly uphold the above mandate, and hence this letter. They have obliged me to ban all persons who advocate, assist, organise or help finance posthumous rtvik theories from coming to Bhaktivedanta Manor."
(Banning Letter issued by BM)

Thus, it is claimed that ISKCON is so concerned to protect the movement from deviant philosophies, that those who simply agree with them must not be allowed to even set foot in ISKCON's temples.

However, let us review how ISKCON deals with philosophies which are actually deviant.

Offending Krsna is welcome

Below is a report given by SRS:

"In July, a well-known Hindu organization launched a worldwide yatra on the grounds of Bhaktivedanta Manor. [...] On the stage were to be two yogis, a guru, a Sankaracarya, and myself -- compromising association! [...] the Sankaracarya [...] made philosophical points clearly targeted at his hosts -- namely, the ISKCON devotees and, more specifically, Their Lordships Radha-Gokulananda. [...] I felt that you, Srila Prabhupada, our Society, and of course Krsna had been grievously offended. [...] In Krsna's temple you (the Sankaracarya) have said that Krsna is a subordinate manifestation of Brahman."
(SRS, Vyasa-puja offering, 2002, emphases added)

Thus, in this instance, not only were those who have a deviant philosophy offensive to Lord Krsna allowed entry to an ISKCON temple; they were actually invited to actively broadcast those offensive philosophies in the temple!

Denying Radha is welcome

A guru named HH Chinna Jeeyar Swami ("CJS") teaches:

"there is no character called as "Radha" at all. [...] We can take Radha as a symbol [...] Hence Radha is not really a person. [...] The description you have seen must be from IS(K)CON books. They feel that Krsna is the origin to all the incarnations. [...] Yet, he is only one avatara among many."
(CJS's website, 'FAQs')

Thus, according to CJS:
a) Radha (Krsna's eternal consort) does not exist. b) Krsna is not the origin of all divine incarnations, but is just an incarnation Himself.
Thus, his position is completely deviant according to ISKCON. Indeed, CJS even admits this, stating that the positions he attacks are coming from "ISKCON books". Yet, not only is he not banned from ISKCON temples for having such deviant views, he was actually invited this year by ISKCON for a lecture tour of various North American ISKCON temples! 

Minimising Krsna is welcome

ISKCON leader HH Jayadvaita Swami explains:

"ISKCON has gone from being beyond Hinduism to being -- very much Hindu! [...] priests earn a livelihood doing weddings and hair cutting ceremonies, [...] Temples once the exclusive hold of Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krsna now are dominated by murtis of demigods. In some quarters ISKCON has undergone considerable Indianisation."
(HH Jayadvaita Swami, ISKCON Studies Conference, Italy, 28/7/2007)

Thus, the GBC allows temples to be "dominated" by demigods, thereby marginalising the exclusive worship of Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead -- even though this is against Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy -- to appeal to the Hindu community.

Deviant initiation is welcome

The GBC claims that those who were initiated by Prabhavisnu Dasa ("PV"), who is a "fallen" ex-guru, are considered to be connected to Srila Prabhupada and able to continue to function spiritually by taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada:

"Those devotees initiated by Prabhavisnu Dasa continue to be connected to Srila Prabhupada and our entire Vaisnava parampara. [...] Thus, they are encouraged to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and siksa gurus or other senior devotees as per their faith."
(GBC Resolution 311, 2012)

However, some of these initiations were conducted whilst PV was deviating sexually:

"he has admitted to a number of sexual fall-downs particularly in 2001 [...] experienced bouts of spiritual weakness for some years".
(Extracts from GBC Executive Committee statements, 13/1/2012 and 2/2/2012)

These devotees are, therefore, like the devotees who follow the GBC-prohibited "rtvik" position; accepting the spiritual shelter of Srila Prabhupada without having a GBC-certified "living" guru. Yet, the GBC still considers them to be connected to Srila Prabhupada. The only difference is that they once had an initiation ceremony via a person who may have been sexually deviant. The GBC therefore advocates that if one were to get initiated today directly by Srila Prabhupada (rtvik), one would not be connected to Srila Prabhupada, but those who got initiated by a sexual deviant are connected to Srila Prabhupada!


a) If their position as "good as God" gurus is threatened, the GBC will spring into immediate action, claiming that such threats constitute a "dangerous" philosophy, and issue serious sanctions.
b) However, if Krsna's position as God, along with that of His eternal consort Srimati Radharani is attacked, the GBC will actually promote such proponents.
c) If minimising Krsna's position through encouraging demigod worship will financially benefit ISKCON temples, it is done.
d) Even connection to, and spiritual shelter of, Srila Prabhupada without having a "living" GBC guru, is accepted -- just as long as there was a role at one time for such a person to provide a ceremony, even if he was a sexual deviant at the time!

Thus, as long as their own position is not under immediate threat, all manner of actual philosophical deviations will be tolerated by the GBC. This double standard demonstrates that the GBC is motivated not by a concern for philosophy, but only by a desire for holding on to power.

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