I have a protest again against the duplicity of ISKCON’s GBC
I recently initiated someone who had spent years in ISKCON without finding anyone inspiring enough. I was shocked upon being shown by that devotee the ISKCON Disciples Course’s Student handbook, (second edition March 2013) written by the GBC Guru Services Committee. Just like I protested some time ago after reading the GBC paper “Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON”, I want to protest against this biased indoctrination of innocent newcomers, which follows the same logic and methodology which I denounced earlier.
GBC Guru Services Committee propose to “enable the students to understand the long-standing principles of discipleship as presented in the teachings of Srila Prabupada and the broader Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition.” (p. 5) But what is presented is not according to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings but according to their speculation! Then, “In addition students should appreciate the unique application of these principles within ISKCON.” That’s right! ISKCON is the only Gaudiya Vaisnava mission who preaches more or less openly a ritvik-Christian conception of the guru-disciple relationship!
But this phrase can also be read as being propaganda that real “real sadhu-sanga” can only be found within the walls of the institution, in line with the ISKCON legislation that you actually cannot go and get it outside. To present their spiritual leaders as the only choice, they have put down the Gaudiya Math by seeing it as “the competition.”
ISKCON Disciples Course teaches a sectarian mood
GBC Guru Services Committee fosters a sectarian vision by saying “2.We encourage allegiance to ISKCON.” (p. 6) But it is actually more than just encouraging: it’s a law and a move to put down the “competition”!
They reinforce sectarianism by asking, “8. Why should one accept diksa and siksa gurus within ISKCON?” (p. 7) directly suggesting it is wrong to take diksa and siksa outside. This is compounded further in the next instruction, ” (p 9.) Describe the appropriate attitude, for an ISKCON disciple, toward gurus in other Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara and organizations.”
Their point 19 shows that they’re not even aware of their sectarianism, “Discuss inappropriate attitudes and behavior for an ISKCON disciple, in regard to discrimination on the basis of one’s diksa-guru.” (p. 8) Why is it bad to discriminate on this basis only within ISKCON??
They bring up the the same point again saying “Gurus outside of ISKCON. List some of the benefits of accepting diksa and siksa gurus within ISKCON.” (p. 25) Why make this segregation? Why put these sectarian ideas in the minds of new, innocent devotees?
They resort to scare techniques to frighten the newcomers and coax them into submission to their bogus system, by pulling the same obsolete quotes out of context, “Never try to hear someone who is not in our line” (p. 26) “Please avoid them.” (p. 27) “Gaudiya Mission has failed in preaching work.”
I regularly meet new ISKCON devotees who were subjected to these scare tactics and were afraid for years to attend lectures by Gaudiya Math preachers due to this type of rubbish brainwashing!
After putting down the “competition” represented by the Gaudiya Math, they go on presenting themselves (the GBC) as the supreme authority, using carefully selected quotes. “Obey Srila Prabhupada but now follow the GBC” (p. 26, 27). Can they compete with any of the Gaudiya Math sadhus except from behind a keyboard? Well, here are again a few different quotes to make a balance:
GBC members are simply to see that things are going on… So how is it that the GBC are the final authority? They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely, that is all.
Letter July 9, 1971
GBC men should not dictate very much, simply supervise and see that the standards are maintained.
Letter, February 14th 1972
What will happen when I am not here, shall everything be spoiled by GBC? So for the time being, let the GBC activities be suspended until I thoroughly revise the whole procedure.
Letter, April 11th 1972
I made the GBC to give me relief, but if you do like this, then where is the relief. It is anxiety for me. This is the difficulty, that as soon as one gets power, he becomes whimsical and spoils everything.
Letter, Sept 12th 1974
I am training some of my experienced disciples how to manage after my departure. So if instead of taking the training, if in my lifetime you people say ‘I am the Lord of all I survey’, that is dangerous conspiracy.
Letter, Oct 8th 1974
Now has the GBC become more than Guru Maharaja?
Letter, Nov 10th 1975
It is now evident that some of our top men are very much ambitious and there has been so many fall-downs.
Letter, January 27th, 1975
But they insist that the diksa-gurus “Must recognize the GBC as the ultimate managing authority in ISKCON, support the GBC system and follow the GBC.” (p. 68) OMG! With all their deviations and contradictions!?
ISKCON Disciples Course is duplicious cheating
GBC Guru Services Committee try to convince new members, who mainly come through Srila Prabhupada’s books, which contain the science of guru-tattva, that the devotees acting as spiritual guides within the institution are qualified according to this science, whereas more than half have already fallen down. It’s nothing short of cheating. They’re saying to the effect of, “This is what Srila Prabhupada says about the guru so you should see our ISKCON gurus (and only them!) as qualified according to these definitions.” “The spiritual master is non-different from Krishna.” (p. 10) “Acarya should be respected just like God” (p. 18)
They apply pressure, “If one considers the spiritual master as ordinary human being, one is doomed.” (p. 10). These statements are valid if the guru is qualified, not otherwise.
At the same time, they know they cannot really say that their gurus are highly qualified given the poor track record, so they lower the qualification to cover their behind in case the so-called “guru” falls down, “When he does his business perfectly, he is perfect.” (p. 10) “Persons who are less qualified or not liberated can still act as guru.” … “If you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee.” … “Even without qualifications, one can become a spiritual master.” (p. 35) And then they bring out the old trick again, “He is as good as a pure devotee.” (p. 11) But who needs or wants someone “as good as”? “Devotees who are strictly following the Krishna conscious principles are acting on the liberated platform, and, as such, are pure devotees…” (p. 65)
They insist on initiation, “Unless one is initiated, all his devotional activities are useless.” (p. 12) Sure! But what if the gurus are not qualified?
They give good arguments against the bogus posthumous ritvik system, but in the last quote, “I want to see my disciples become bona fide spiritual masters…Keep up training very rigidly and then you are bona fide guru” p. 14 they brush over the fact that Srila Prabhupada’s disciples didn’t keep on training very rigidly since more than half of their gurus fell down. So, yes, it was Prabhupada’s desire for them to become gurus, but only if they followed his prescription of training; otherwise they are not bona-fide!
They bang on the “ritvik-vadis” heads (p. 17) , but their own system is more or less ritvik. They give as an argument against ritvik-vada, “The argument that there are no qualified diksa-gurus amongst Prabhupada’s disciples indicates that Prabhupada’s teachings have not proven effective…” (p. 17) This is incorrect. It has nothing to do with the teachings; they are perfect; it is in their understanding and application that the problem lies.
They dare to quote, “one should not accept a spiritual master in terms of customary social and ecclesiastical conventions” (p. 36) which is exactly what they uphold!
And, on the other hand, they wash their hands of the whole business: “It is the personal responsibility of candidates for intiation to correctly choose, by the exercice of their own intelligence, a particular devotee as spiritual master.” (p. 36) In other words, they’re saying, “Yes, we present you gurus, most of whom you cannot approach, but its is your responsibility and only yours to make sure they are qualified. So if your guru falls down, don’t blame us.” Such duplicity! If the institution props up individuals as gurus, how can the new members not assume that they are qualified?!
By the way, why don’t they claim as before that their gurus are uttama-adhikaris, or madhyamas and just give them a “no objection certificate”? Well, on the next page they hint this, “a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master.” (p. 37) Such cheating! On one hand, they encourage full surrender to their gurus, but they don’t take responsibility if they are qualified or not, while doing as if they are!! And how have their gurus become uttama-adhikaris without association with devotees of this level?
But if your guru falls, never mind, take another one, but only in ISKCON!! “One who has decided to reject his non bona-fide guru may seek reinitiation from an approved ISKCON guru.” (p. 55) Oh! I thought they were bona-fide? And what is the proof that the next one who is “approved” will not fall down? Some have had up to 3 “bona fide GBC-approved gurus” who fell one after another It’s pathetic!
And, to be a guru “an additional requirement is attendance of the Guru Seminar” Yeah! Sure! Bona fide gurus need a seminar!!
ISKCON Disciples Course is offensive and Christian/Ritvik-like
They claim Srila Prabhupada to be “THE empowered representative of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the modern age.” (p. 22) Undoubtedly Srila Prabhupada is an unique empowered pure devotee, but this claim of exclusivity is offensive to Prabhupada’s predecessors acaryas as well as other bona-fide powerful preachers of the Gaudiya Math and is tinged with a Christian mood.
This Christian/ritvik mood is again manifested as “Prabhupadasraya” (p. 30) ( Well, is this why they criticize the ritvik-vadis with their ‘Prabhupadanuga‘?) … “developing a deep authentic relationship with Srila Prabhupada from the beginning of our spiritual life.” “Srila Prabhupada has an unique relationship with every ISKCON devotee.” “Focus their attention on Srila Prabhupada” “The purpose of siksa and diksa is to strenghten the devotee’s relationship with Srila Prabhupada” and finally underscoring, “Srila Prabhupada is the preeminent guru for all members of ISKCON.” (p. 31)
Conclusion: The Ritviks have won!
Lord Jesus-Christ ki jaya! Lord Prabhupada ki jaya! Well it seems the ritvik-vadis have won!
And of course, the GBC resorts to the old manipulation tool, “Your love for me, said Srila Prabhupada, will be shown by how much you cooperate…” (p. 60) READ: “Cooperate with us or you don’t love Prabhupada.” BURK!