Come back to the original Krishna consciousness given by Srila Prabhupada, the only cure for the disease of repeated birth and death.
“So because this disease is called bhava-roga… Bhava-roga means again and again taking birth, bhava-roga. But if we take the medicine, bhavauṣadhi. Everything is there in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhava-roga, the disease of repeated birth and death in the material world, and the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is bhavauṣadhi, the medicine to cure this bhava-roga. Bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano-‘bhirāmāt ka uttamaśloka-guṇānuvādāt virajyeta pumān vinā paśughnāt (SB 10.1.4).” Lecture on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.15, Los Angeles, June 1, 1972
To truly cure the disease of material life Srila Prabhupada says one must follow the directions of the spiritual master in the same way that one takes medicine according to what is written on the prescription container.
“The secret of understanding Bhagavad-gītā is here, and if you follow these principles… Just like when you purchase one bottle of medicine from the, I mean to say, drug shop, there is dose. Read, ‘This medicine is to be taken by this dose.’ If you follow the direction of the bottle label then you get benefit. Similarly, here is the direction: evam paramparā-prāptam [Bg. 4.2]. You have to understand Bhagavad-gītā from the disciplic succession, and that means one who is devotee, a devotee. Devotee. This disciplic succession devotee. Otherwise there is no possibility. If that disciplic succession is something else than devotional service, then he cannot understand Bhagavad-gītā.” Lecture on Bhagavad-gītā 4.1, Montreal, August 24, 1968
Srila Prabhupada is the last acarya in that Brahma-Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession, and he laid out a very detailed prescription for his followers to cure the disease of material life, including the philosophy or siddhanta found in Bhagavad-gita and his other books. This philosophy has been passed down unchanged from one spiritual master to another all the way back to Lord Krishna. Therefore, it is God’s philosophy and not something made up by someone. This is the qualification of a genuine guru – he knows and lives the same philosophy as Lord Krishna.
“Kaṭha Upaniṣad says that tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). This śrotriyam means that one who is coming in disciplic succession. And what is the proof that he has come under the disciplic succession? Brahma-niṣṭham. Brahma-niṣṭham means he is fully convinced about the Supreme Absolute Truth. So there you have to surrender. Praṇipāta. Praṇipāta means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa nipātam, no reservation.” Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 10.2-3, New York, January 1, 1967
The fruit of surrendering to and serving the bona fide spiritual master is this conviction accompanied by realization in love of Krishna – pure devotional service, suddha sattva. One doesn’t achieve this by deviating or making up something. It means 100% surrender to the truths given by the Lord. To get to this stage Srila Prabhupada gave the prescription of chanting sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra daily and following the four rules and regulations of no intoxication, no illicit sex, no meat eating and no gambling. Everything was given in his books beginning with Bhagavad-gita, which were also to be read daily. There one will find the aforesaid philosophy, everything needed to attain full God realization. During his manifest presence one could also contact this from practically any of his disciples simply by visiting one of his movement’s temples. One could find there any number of devotees endeavoring to serve Srila Prabhupada and fully surrender to him.
That all changed shortly after his physical departure at the end of 1977. In the spring of 1978 eleven men from among his trusted managers lied to his other disciples that he had appointed them as his “successor gurus,” when he had only appointed them as rittvik (priest) assistants to help with initiation ceremonies while he was still present. Here is a quote from early 1978 by one of them, Jayapataka Swami, from a meeting with Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother:
Jayapataka Maharaja: Maharaja, when our Srila Prabhupada left, then he has given instruction that for initiating and for carrying on the sampradaya there would be eleven-in the beginning, he appointed eleven devotees, his disciples, to be initiating spiritual masters or to accept disciples and in the future that number would also be able to be increased. So we wanted to take your advice on some points as to various details of how these initiating spiritual masters should deal with certain questions. If we could ask questions to you then?
Sridhara Maharaja: yes, you may ask.
Jayapataka Maharaja: He has given explicit desires, but he told us that, on other technical points and other matters of philosophy, it there was question we should approach you. He said that during his…when he was very ill, he had appointed eleven ritviks and he said that after he disappears that these ritviks would continue as initiating spiritual masters and that they could be increased later, that would be decided by the GBC or Governing Body Commission. – Two Official Meetings of Sridhara Maharaja with the ISKCON GBC, March 1978 (our italics)
After declaring themselves in this deceptive way, the eleven set about taking control of the devotees and temples in their designated world zones. This was also approved by the ISKCON institution’s then 23 man GBC, eleven of whom were the so-called successors. These “zonal acaryas” even demanded worship from their godbrothers and godsisters, who had often been devotees longer than them. They often abused these surrendered souls verbally and emotionally, sometimes even demanding that these devotees see them as spiritual intermediaries to their guru. Their imitation of Srila Prabhupada, however, was easy to recognize by the more experienced, and this imitation then set the stage for any number of scandals with drugs, alcohol and sex with women and men. They clearly didn’t have the qualities and self-control they claimed for themselves.
Lying about being appointed to the position of spiritual master is not the qualification of an honest person, much less a guru. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the Vaishnava father of Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, had this to say about men with this sort of character:
“One should give up the association of dharmadvajis, the hypocritically devout, with special care. Those who accept the external signs of dharma but do not actually follow dharma are called dharmadvajis. There are two types of dharmadvajis—the hypocrites and the fools, or the cheaters and the cheated. Such hypocrisy in jnana-kanda and karma-kanda is also condemned. In devotional service this hypocrisy ruins everything. Better associate with sense enjoyers, for in this whole world there is no worse association than the dharmadvaji. The deceitful dharmadvajis accept the signs of dharma with a desire to cheat the world, and to fulfill their crooked desires they cheat the foolish by helping them in their rascaldom.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Bhaktyaloka, Six Faults that Destroy Bhakti, Jana Sanga
If the association of sense enjoyers is preferred to the “no worse association” of the eleven, serious devotees should ask about the results of serving and hearing from them:
“One must be…, behavior in Vaisnava. Sadacara-sampannah. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has warned that ‘Don’t mix it with Vaisnava who is not well trained up, well behaved.’ You can offer him respect. A Vaisnava offers respect even to the ant. That is another thing. But he has warned, ‘Don’t mix with them, these professional, so-called Vaisnava, sahajiyas.’ This is warned. Avaisnava-mukhodgirnam puta-hari-kathamrtam, sravanam na kartavyam: ‘You should not hear.’ ‘Eh? Huh? What is the wrong there? The Krsna-katha is there.’ No, Krsna-katha is there just like milk is there, but if it is touched by the lips of a serpent, it is no more to be taken. It has become poison. Unless one is situated as pure Vaisnava in his dealing, in his behavior, inside and outside, he should not become a preacher because it will not be effective, neither one should hear from such person. But people in general, they can not understand, but those who are preaching, they must be very sincere, the same way. Rupa-raghunatha pade, haibe akuti. They should read the literatures, the instruction, just like Upadesamrta, The Nectar of Instruction. We should follow, strictly follow. Then prthivim sa sisyat. Then you’ll be able to preach and make disciples all over the world. This is the injunction. That is called gosvami. Don’t be cheap preacher, cheap guru. No, no. That is not good. It is not possible.” Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.28, Mayapur, March 6, 1976
Hearing from pretenders like the zonal acaryas means that one is taking on their material imitative consciousness, the evils of their false ego. Taking such men seriously means becoming like them. One eventually becomes like the people one associates with, much less the ones they idealize and worship. This is a very pernicious form of contamination because, at the time, one is thinking that they are becoming more Krishna conscious.
“So it is a question of practice. Just like a child born, he does not know how to smoke, how to drink, but by association he becomes a drunkard, a smoker, intoxication. By association. So it is a question of association only. Saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ. If the association is good…. Our career is being spoiled because we are not keeping good association. So this is explained here, that: ‘But when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress.’ Just like in business also, there are so many association, corporation. Because by becoming member of that corporation the particular type of business flourishes. They have got exchange. They can make exchange, bill of exchange, stock exchange. So association is so important.” Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 6.35-45, Los Angeles, February 20, 1969
Above it was stated that the result of hearing from a devotee who is, “not well trained up, well behaved,” is like drinking poison, what to speak of hearing from a “deceitful dharmadvaji,” much less a dharmadvaji who demands worship and verbally and psychologically abuses even his godbrothers and sisters. What is the result of hearing and serving a “devotee” who acts in these harsh demoniac ways? Such a cheater either personally brow-beats his followers into submission or employs hatchet men who do this on his behalf. Thus one is not only taking in spiritual poison through their ears, but is also being emotionally traumatized at the same time. In a discussion on the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of devotional service, Srila Prabhupada mentioned what kind of opposing mental and psychological seeds such followers are having planted in their consciousnesses by such “gurus.”
“Bhakti-lata-bija means ‘the seed of devotional service.’ Everything has an original cause, or seed. For any idea, program, plan or device, there is first of all the contemplation of the plan, and that is called bija, or the seed. The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-lata-bija , or seed of devotional service. This bhakti-lata-bija is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. Other seeds are called anyabhilasa-bija, karma-bija and jnana-bija. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-lata-bija from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates the seeds of karma-bija, jnana-bija, or political and social or philanthropic bija. However, bhakti-lata-bija is different from these other bijas. Bhakti-lata-bija can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get bhakti-lata-bija (yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadau). Bhakti-lata-bija is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bija, or root cause, of karma, jnana and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. However, one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-lata-bija. This bhakti-lata-bija is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master.” Purport, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 19.152
Similarly if one hears from and serves a deceitful dharmadvaji who acts demonically in the name of preaching Krishna consciousness, one may actually receive a demoniac bija. Indeed many followers of the zonal acaryas, including many disciples of Srila Prabhupada, acted in all sorts of demoniac ways in service to these eleven dark masters by lying, stealing and doing other petty crimes while performing fund raising and management.
The question then becomes how one can get free from such bijas that one has foolishly allowed into ones psyche and heart. One can say that chanting Hare Krishna delivers one from all sins, but how does one free their consciousness from all the misconceptions that were embedded therein by the dharmadvaji, especially if one continues to believe that their activities under him were actually Krishna conscious? This is sadly the state of the vast majority of those who previously served the zonal acaryas – they still believe they were advancing in Krishna consciousness at the time. They remain convinced that the dangerous spiritual disease they contacted actually made them healthier. This is the insidious nature of the poison they took in through their ears. This deplorable contaminated state is actually honored and encouraged in what now passes for the movement that Srila Prabhupada once founded, the ISKCON institution. There four of the zonal acaryas are still accepted as apparent gurus.
Although there have been some cosmetic reforms regarding the zonal acaryas and those others whom the GBC has selected as so-called gurus, the institution has never given up the charade that the zonals are/were gurus. Their 1978 takeover has been called a heresy, but the frank admission that these men lied to become institutional “gurus,” and that they were therefore cheating dharmadvajis, has never taken place. In essence the GBC has completely invested itself in a very heinous spiritual deception, thus making the organization ethically and transcendentally bankrupt. No one there is willing to admit that the eleven little emperors were/are actually naked, and that they took Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual hospital for the materially conditioned and turned it into just another diseased mundane environment. Serving them in this endeavor was therefore hardly pleasing to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.
The zonal acaryas were a spiritually condemned group of men to be avoided, not honored, and avoiding them and their spiritually rotten organization is actually elevating, as is pointing out these things. Anyone else who purports to be a guru, both within and without the institution, should also avoid and condemn them, but those others selected by the GBC don’t. This means that these other institutional “gurus,” as well as the individual GBC members and temple presidents are also participating in the zonal’s ongoing charade and are also deceptive. They are all compromised hypocrites who, as long as they prop up the zonals, don’t have the spotless character and qualifications of a genuine guru or leader of devotees. This means that serving and hearing from these latter-day ISKCON institutional “gurus” or the group’s other mouthpieces is little more than a scaled-down, one-step-removed version of the grossly contaminating zonal sickness. Devotees who have served in the post-zonal institution and thought they were making spiritual advancement have therein taken in many of the same misconceptions and bijas as the zonal’s followers. A serious devotee wants nothing to do with such an environment or such people.
“With the motive of encouraging one to accept the shelter of the lotus feet of a true Vaisnava by abandoning false, so-called preachers of religion, one neither risks committing blasphemy of saints (sadhu-ninda) nor vaisnava-aparadha (offence to Vaisnavas). In such cases, even criticism directed at a specific person is free from fault.” Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, Vaishnava Ninda
Even many of the devotees who now oppose the ISKCON institution in other sectarian factions, such as rittvik or those now affiliated with the remnants of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s institution, the Gaudiya Matha, are under the same set of misconceptions regarding their time with the zonals or ISKCON institution. Some who approached Gaudiya Matha leaders like Narayana Maharaja actually believed, just after serving the zonals, that they were then worthy to received intimate knowledge of their eternal spiritual identity (svarupa siddhi) from him. They often denigrated their training under Srila Prabhupada as being merely introductory. What kind of thinking leads one to believe they deserve the highest spiritual knowledge immediately after being severely contaminated and misled by a dharmadvaji?
Srila Prabhupada actually ordered his disciples to avoid the association of his godbrothers:
“Actually amonst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.” Letter to Rupanuga, April 28, 1974
The main pollution offered by Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers is the envy that so many of their associates had for him and his mission. Even many years after his worldwide success in spreading the holy name, many of these associates still demanded that Srila Prabhupada be addressed by the common honorific of “Swamiji,” saying that “Prabhupada” was solely reserved for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. It is not unusual for those in Gaudiya Matha to relegate Srila Prabhupada to being just one of the godbrothers.
So many of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples who disobeyed his instruction to not associate with his godbrothers were later poisoned by this envy of their maha-bhagavata spiritual master (a devotee on the highest level of pure love of Krishna). Although much about the Gaudiya Matha is superior to Srila Prabhupada’s followers in the ISKCON institution or the rittvik movement, this one envious disqualification makes them the worst association of all, as well as the most polluting. Narayana Maharaja was also well known for the acknowledged sahajiya activity of public discussion of intimate Krishna lila, something avoided and condemned by the previous acaryas.
The rittvik movement largely came about in the late 1980’s as a reaction to the abuses of the zonals and the GBC’s Orwellian support of those wrongs. By then there were thousands of one-time disciples of scandalized and disgraced zonals who were being told by the GBC that their new duty was to become “re-initiated” by another so-called GBC selected guru, men who were usually just as specious as their original zonal. The rittvik leaders held out a very tempting offer to these abandoned souls – “Due to fresh interpretations of the same conversation and letter that the zonals misused to back their ambition, Srila Prabhupada had actually desired to remain the sole initiating guru for his followers, even after his physical departure.” Apparently his disciples were only qualified to be rittvik priests who would perform the initiation ceremonies on his behalf. Thus all the lost “disciples” of disgraced “removed from approved” zonals were now either already his disciples or could simply undergo another initiation ceremony. Rittvik shortly became wildly popular with this audience of people eager to hold onto the false prestige they had achieved in their zonal’s hierarchy but had lost upon his disgrace. Rittvik caught on even though the GBC refused to accept it and would not honor the “initiations.”
It didn’t matter all that much that in all the Vedic scriptures or the history of Vaishnavism there had never been a guru who continued accepting disciples after his physical departure. It also contradicted all the orders Srila Prabhupada had given his disciples to become qualified gurus. The rittvik advocates also didn’t have a direct self-evident order from him for their contradictory and unprecedented concoction. It was merely an equivocal interpretation of a letter and conversation that have been interpreted in several other ways, some of which don’t contradict other orders and are in line with Vaishnava scripture and tradition.
These are all reasons why the rittvik dispensation appears more political than a service attitude submission to please Srila Prabhupada. In other words, it’s more of a reaction to the Machiavellian political abuses of the zonals. It’s therefore just the other side of the same domination, competitive, materialistic coin – a mechanism to hopefully take over the GBC with ritvik advocates, something still very much aspired to by them. And this is further confirmed by how the zonal’s dharmadvaji poison in the hearts and minds of their one-time servants is accepted as “transcendental” in both groups. The rittvik advocates aren’t interested in treating that disease but prefer to exploit it for the sake of getting the followers needed to eventually take over or merge with the ISKCON institution.
Where Disease is “Health”
Of course Srila Prabhupada has already given everything that is needed to cure the disease of those misled by the zonals, his godbrother’s envious associates, the rittvik advocates or the ISKCON institution. The first step is to accept that it really is a disease, that one wasn’t pleasing guru and Krishna when they were serving dharmadvajis or an institution that supports and glorifies them. The same is true of being associated with envy of the pure devotee or, in the case of rittvik, a group that is concocting a process of initiation.
One needs to firmly understand that, at the time, they were in a very pernicious form of maya, a form they confused with genuine Krishna consciousness. Then, just like sentimental attachments to parents or old lovers, one needs to make every effort to avoid dwelling on their previous so-called guru or their previous association. And just like when one seriously takes to spiritual life, one accepts a new name and identity, one needs to give up the name and identity received from the dharmadvaji or deviant group. In some cases one may even be able to receive permission from the so-called guru to become free from the so-called initiation. Better to go back to being bhaktin Mary or bhakta John and start developing the sincerity needed to attract the association of a self-realized spiritual master.
Reporter: Don’t you feel that people are suspicious because of their experience with fake gurus? If you went to a quack dentist and he broke your tooth, you might be suspicious about going to another dentist.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, naturally, if you are cheated, you become suspicious. But this does not mean that if you are cheated once, you will always be cheated. You should find someone genuine. But to come to Krishna consciousness, you must be either very fortunate or well aware of this science. From the Bhagavad-gita we understand that the genuine seekers are very few: manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye. Out of many millions of people, there may be only one who is interested in spiritual life. Generally, people are interested in eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. So how can we expect to find many followers? It is not difficult to notice that people have lost their spiritual interest. And almost all those who are actually interested are being cheated by so-called spiritualists. You cannot judge a movement simply by the number of its followers. If one man is genuine, then the movement is successful. It is not a question of quantity, but quality.
Reporter: I wondered how many people you think might have been taken in by fake gurus.
Srila Prabhupada: Practically everyone. [Laughter.] There is no question of counting. Everyone.
Reporter: This would mean thousands of people, wouldn’t it?
Srila Prabhupada: Millions. Millions have been cheated, because they want to be cheated. God is omniscient. He can understand your desires. He is within your heart, and if you want to be cheated, God sends you a cheater. Science of Self Realization, Ch. 2, “Choosing a Spiritual Master-Saints & Swindlers”
“The bonafide teacher should be available sooner or later to the real seeker of the Truth. The bonafide Acarya is not recognizable by the hypocrites and atheists who do not really want to serve Godhead. So long therefore, as the bonafide teacher does not manifest his appearance to the pure cognitive essence of the seeker of the Absolute Truth it is necessary for the candidate for spiritual enlightenment to concentrate on self-examination to be able to avoid harboring any lurking traces of insincerity. The words of the sadhu are also available, by his causeless mercy, for bearing the efforts of such candidates, for finding out their own insincerity.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada, Putana (Organized Religion), The Harmonist, January 1932 edition
There are no shortcuts, like rittvik, to achieving the association of the bonafide teacher. “The words of the sadhu are also available, by his causeless mercy” in Srila Prabhupada’s many books. These will eventually cause one to find out the specifics of their insincerity and simultaneously enable one to become “well aware of this science.” This may take time, but the result is an essential step towards eternal life and realized love of Krishna consciousness.
One needs to thoroughly understand that they were cheated in spiritual life by the dharmadvaji or deviant group. All the things that Srila Prabhupada and the scriptures say about Kali Yuga and cheap gurus and disciples apply to you. It isn’t that these things are only about “outside groups” and don’t apply to Srila Prabhupada’s followers in the above described groups. These things are exactly about these followers of Srila Prabhupada. The longer it takes someone to accept this, the longer they will remain poisoned and largely immune to treatment by the pure process of bhakti yoga. According to Srimad Bhagavatam this type of dharmadvaji or institutional cheating has profoundly deep psychological effects:
ekadasat-prasangan nikrta-matir vyudaka-srotah-skhalanavad ubhayato ’pi duhkhadam pakhanḍam abhiyati
“Sometimes, to mitigate distresses in this forest of the material world, the conditioned soul receives cheap blessings from atheists. He then loses all intelligence in their association. This is exactly like jumping in a shallow river. As a result one simply breaks his head. He is not able to mitigate his sufferings from the heat, and in both ways he suffers. The misguided conditioned soul also approaches so-called sadhus and svamis who preach against the principles of the Vedas. He does not receive benefit from them, either in the present or in the future.” Srimad Bhagavatam 5.14.13
Clearing sentimental and other misconceptions from one’s mind and psyche is not necessarily easy. One who has been cheated in spiritual life inevitably becomes cynical and skeptical of other teachers. This was just compared to “breaking ones head.” Developing sincerity very much entails (re)developing the willingness to surrender to the bonafide teacher.
Devotee: What is the best way to deal with skepticism?
Srila Prabhupāda: Skepticism, rascalism. (laughter) We are not going to deal with rascalism. We are going to deal with sense. Skepticism means they do not believe in anything. Everything is false. They are so disappointed, they think everything is false. We are not going to deal with such men. What is the use? Is not that skepticism? What is that skepticism?
Srila Prabhupāda: That’s all. So why one should be disappointed? We say that “You come to the spiritual platform. You will be happy.” We want to deliver him from the platform of disappointment. Sometimes one, being very disappointed, he commits suicide. But will anybody recommend that, that “You are so disappointed. Now you commit suicide”? Nobody will do so. So similarly, the skepticism is disappointed. We say, “Why you are disappointed? You come to the spiritual platform, and you will be happy.” That is our version. So we are not going to accept his philosophy, skepticism, but we want to deliver him from this fallen condition. That is our mission. He is in false conception, that disappointment. Why? Our Vedic literature says, ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12). The living entity, the spirit soul, is by nature happy. There is no question of disappointment. You see Kṛṣṇa’s picture anywhere, how they are happy. The gopīs are happy, the cowherd boys are happy, Kṛṣṇa is happy. Simply happiness. Where is disappointment? – Arrival Lecture, Philadelphia, July 11, 1975
The saying is “once burned, twice shy.” Most devotees who have been cheated in the ways we are describing have a long way back to the sincerity required to contact a bonafide teacher. As we have seen, rather than just admit they were cheated, that they weren’t really initiated, most are eager to go on as previously, believing they made spiritual advancement during and after the cheating arrangement. They join groups like rittvik where they can deludedly believe they no longer need a physically manifest bonafide teacher. Rittvik is therefore little more than a kind of association of the skeptical and suspicious. Or the cheated just “stay on the boat,” regardless of the status of their so-called guru, and render what passes for devotional service as directed by the GBC’s other representatives.
Srimad Bhagavatam also describes how one can develop the real knowledge of spiritual life that will dispel all ones misconceptions:
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ
jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.” Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.7
That “devotional service” has to be the real thing, directly following the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, not a continuation of what one was trained in by the deviants. One must be making a conscious effort to purify themselves of the deviant’s influence. This is most easily done in the association of those already free from that influence or those who never went under it.
It is said that chanting Hare Krishna frees one from all sins. However the chanting one does with deviants or the mantra one receives from them will, as described previously, have some poisonous effects. To become free from misconceptions one needs to do more than the offensive chanting of most neophytes. The madhyama adhikari, the second-class devotee with firm faith (nistha), is already freed from the neophyte stage of anarthas (unwanted things) with its misconceptions. To become a madhyama ones chanting must come to the namabhasa clearing stage.
“Similarly, first there is offensive name and, if you avoid, avoid the ten kinds of offenses, then gradually it becomes nāmābhāsa. And Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura has said, Namācārya, that by nāmābhāsa one becomes liberated. There was some argument with Haridāsa Ṭhākura and one brāhmin in the office of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī’s father, uncle. So there were some high level talks on this nāmābhāsa. So by nāmābhāsa one becomes liberated. By chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra offensive, one becomes materially happy or distressed, but when one comes to the stage of nāmābhāsa, he becomes liberated. And when he chants pure name, there is kṛṣṇa-prema. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī: he was chanting. We are also chanting. But we are not in the stage of Rūpa Gosvāmī or Sanātana Gosvāmī and Haridāsa Ṭhākura.” Lecture on Nectar of Devotion, October 31, 1972, Vrndavana
In other words, we will be freed from the misconceptions acquired from deviants to the extent that we can helplessly cry out to Lord Krishna and mother Hare. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
For a compilation of Srila Prabhupada’s statements concerning the misconceptions in the deviant groups described above see Srila Prabhupada Speaks to Today’s Devotees. For a more detailed description of the deviations of the ISKCON institution see ISKCON, ISKCON 2.0 and Beyond, Eunuch “Gurus” and What Comes After, Parts 1-5.
For a more in-depth discussion of this topic please see:
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyā
tato ‘nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
“In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sādhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 23.14-15
siddhanta alasa jana anartha to chade na
jade krsna bhrama kori krsna seva kore na
“One who is lazy in properly understanding the Vaisnava philosophical conclusions can never become free from anarthas, the unwanted bad habits and philosophical misconceptions what impede devotional service. One who mistakes Krishna as belonging to the material plane can never render actual service to the Lord.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, Prakrta-Rasa Sata-Dusini 28
Srila Prabhupada: …So therefore the conclusion is guru is necessary and guru is he who is representative of Krishna. Otherwise he’s bogus.
Pushta-Krishna: What about the so-called gurus that take a little bit here and a little bit there?
Srila Prabhupada: So-called gurus, they are so-called gurus. They are not gurus. That is already explained. If one does not speak what Krishna speaks, he is not guru. If you accept so-called guru, that is your misfortune. What can be done?
Pushta-Krishna: Some of them will say some things that Krishna says, but they’ll take from other places also. What is the position of such persons?
Srila Prabhupada: He’s most dangerous. He’s most dangerous. He is opportunist. He’s finding out customer, something here… According to the customer he is giving something, as the customers will be pleased. So he is not guru. – Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan’s Journal, June 28, 1976, Vrindavana