Leaders in ISKCON have a term they like to use, “Oh, he is a GBC or a Guru in ‘good standing'”. You’ve heard this before: ‘In good standing.’ But many of those who were in ‘good standing’ are no longer standing. One after the other, after the other, after the other, after another… How many years of history do we have to have of gurus falling down!? Because they are not taking sadhu sanga. All of their anarthas come out, and they become overwhelmed and commit so many offenses.
I’m not saying this of all. I’m not saying that. There are some who are sincere Vaishnavas. No doubt. But I have seen that those who are in that category, they’re very careful about committing offenses against Srila Narayan Maharaj. They have very much respect for him. So, this is the standard: If someone is advancing in bhakti, they will want to have sadhu sanga. But in ISKCON they have made this rule that you cannot have any sadhu sanga outside of the walls of this institution. Not allowed! So what kind of rule is this? Do we find that anywhere in the sastras? This is the point.
ISKCON is starting to become like the Catholic Church. It’s true. It’s true. And it has only been three decades after Prabhupada’s disappearance. You’ve heard of the Ritvik philosophy? Correct? You all have heard of this? Right? Now, ISKCON does not accept the Ritvik philosophy. You know this? Right? They have written papers: “No, no. Ritvik philosophy is wrong.” But do you know that they are practicing Ritvik in ISKCON? Do you know that?
I’ll tell you how they are practicing Ritvik: There was a disciple and his guru fell down. So then they would tell him, “Ok, your guru fell down. No problem. We have more gurus. You can get another guru.” So then he would follow the instructions of his leaders and take a second guru in ISKCON. But he wouldn’t be so fortunate because the second guru also fell down. And I’m not just saying this. There are many circumstances like this in ISKCON. I think the record so far is four gurus. Yeah, I’ve heard. But anyway, he would take a second guru again. But then that second guru would fall down. So now by this time the ISKCON leaders are a little reluctant to tell him to take a third guru. They want to encourage him somehow. But they are not very confident now to tell him, “Oh, you should take another guru.”
So many years ago they have already started to tell that disciple, “Don’t worry, you don’t need another initiation. It doesn’t matter your guru fell down. It doesn’t matter because you’re initiated in ISKCON. You’re connected with Prabhupada. Just consider Prabhupada your guru. No need to have another guru.” What is this called? Ritvik. This is called Ritvik. “I will go directly to Prabhupada and I will be his disciple. No need for any other intermediary.” And now-a-days it’s pretty much the general policy that if any disciple’s guru falls, they don’t tell him any more to accept a second guru. Now they just tell him, “You’re connected with Prabhupada.”
So if this continues for a hundred years more then it becomes very much like the conception of Christianity where Prabhupada is like Jesus Christ and everyone just has to accept him. But Srila Prabhupada never preached this himself. Ever. None of the other gurus in our sampradaya ever preached this philosophy. In fact all of them demonstrated by their own example, including Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself, including Sri Krishna himself, including Rama Chandra himself; they all had gurus, living gurus.
So this is the main problem. The main problem ISKCON has created is to ban pure Vaishnavas, to ban devotees within ISKCON from having association with pure Vaishnavas who are outside of the institution. This is the main problem.