by Kailāsa Candra dāsa
HARIḤ OṀ NAMAḤ
If you are attracted to Kṛṣṇa consciousnessand have begun research into it,that is most commendable; however, you are only at the beginning of your search into achieving perfection. Specific manifestations of what appear to be Kṛṣṇa conscious institutions require more than general knowledge of Vaiṣṇavism. As you actually enter into this next and difficult layer, to merely know about the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement will be seen to be not good enough.
The primary manifestation (or the first manifestation of the movement, so to speak), has changed from what it once was . . . and, after that, it has changed in other ways. There are different brands now. These brand names are what we shall refer to them as, and they will be explained.
Although rivals, these cracks of deviation are force multipliers that have one thing in common: They engage in psychological manipulation of newcomers via initiation; as such, they are engaged in gaslighting both their followers and the public at large. We should all be concerned about this, because, in the name of Kṛṣṇa, somewhat sincere people in spiritual life are having their psyches snapped. In many cases, after narrowly escaping the black hole of their first contact, they react to the treatment received there by throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Psychological treatment is not brainwashing when the institution is a bona fide representative of its Founder and the Absolute Truth. Under his perfect guidance, Prabhupāda’s Hare Kṛṣṇa organization did represent the Absolute Truth. Psychological cleansing was integral to its process.
However, psychological manipulation often extends for long periods of time. This was mostly not the case during Prabhupāda’s manifest presence, wherein he guided his movement. However, even while he was still physically present, deviation started to worm its way into the movement. That is, essentially, all that has gone on since he left the scene, especially after the zonal catastrophe of March, 1978.
In terms of The First Transformation of “ISKCON,” during its initial period, a new devotee would automatically question the validity of his or her thoughts, pre-suppositions, interests, desires, and identification. Such questioning is integral to the process when it is bona fide, although whether or not progress is achieved is determined by the validity (or lack thereof) of the institution in which that new person acts. Obviously, with the dumbing down of “ISKCON” over time—during the following periods of The Second Transformation and the current Third Transformation—the brainwashing element became itself dumbed down and less intense. That was also memory-holed, of course.
Removing the layers of the Universal Matrix within entails peeling back different layers of affiliation and belief systems. As you know, our presentations cater to those who are, at bare minimum, at least interested in Vaiṣṇavism. If you are one of those people, as you attempt to transcend Maya, you will have to confront the current manifestations of factions which are only allegedly representing Vaishnavism.
These are the three initiation machines: “ISKCON” Betrayal, Neo-Mutt Mutiny, and Rittvik Heresy. All three factions engage in massive gaslighting as to what they supposedly are and whether or not you are being—either implicitly or explicitly—brainwashed by them. They have different perceptions of reality, and those misconceptions typically lead to promoting confusion, loss of self-confidence, and emotional turmoil in the unfortunates who join them after initial curiosity.
If you allow yourself to become dependent on any one of these emblems of the Universal Regulatrix, your mental and intellectual stability will be challenged. You will have to deal with a whole new set of pernicious illusions. All three of the major deviations mislead anyone who joins them to their own advantage, and they do so in various ways. Some of these ways are the same in each faction and some are different. Nevertheless,emotional manipulation is always integral to their tactics within the wheelhouse of their peculiar strategies.
One of the most important means for transcending their influences is to understand each of these initiation machines for what they actually are . . . and not what they advertise themselves to be. Each of the factions are exposed in this presentation—and, as far as that goes, in every one of our presentations. However, internally, all of them also have their own in-house cracks; there are smaller splinter groups within each of the three chief factions. Mostly, these are hidden from the general public, but our presentations are not meant for the vox populi.
Back in the Nineteenth Century, before electricity, the streets of a city (in London, for example), were lit at night by gaslights. It was better than nothing, but not much better. Little was seen clearly. There were a lot of shadows producing various illusions. The streets were dangerous due to this, until electricity provided cities with massive improvement in the quality of streetlights, making general vision clearer.
Gaslighting is also a psychological phenomenon. However, if you really want to understand it, the three above-mentioned cults capture the essence of how it functions. Gaslighting is basically emotional manipulation producing illusory images that induce the belief that all reactions, perceptions, and memories are not just mistaken but unfounded and crazy. The three deviant cults replace all history, fact, and truth with their own dogma and absurd pre-suppositions, and they then gaslight their followers into believing in these shadows.
Each of them demands acceptance of its dogma, achieved through besetting the intelligence of any newcomer with doubt, until intelligence snaps and acquiesces. Regimentation is also integral to the implementation of cult gaslighting. You cannot question (read, doubt) any of the cult’s leaders and still remain in good standing with it. Small leeway is sometimes afforded in terms of questioning a preaching strategy. Yet, even there, you have to walk on eggshells in order to assure everyone that your criticism is only constructive.
Sugar-coated with some tasty quasi-Vaiṣṇava teachingsin the name of Vaiṣṇavism, the “ISKCON” movement is ultimately nothing more than another organized Western religion. It represents a semblance of a bhakti-cult, but it is strongly rooted in the soil of organized religion. Cults can be destroyed comparatively easily, but organized religions cannot. They have strong connections to all three modes, whereas genuine bhakti cults do not have this. As such, organized religions survive world wars, but genuine devotional cults have little to no connection with the outside culture. As such, they are much more vulnerable.
“ISKCON” is an Eastern kaitava-dharma as opposed to the mleccha-dharmas, the organized religions, of the West. India is also loaded with kaitava-dharmas, and “ISKCON” follows in its footsteps. This organized religion is composed of many incorrigible Party Men, and their number is hard to determine, because new ones are being added. Some are sannyasīs, some are temple presidents, and some are members of the governing body. It is not that any of these are necessarily true believers; their follower is the true believer. They are the god-men, and the followers are their chelas and kick-mees conducting services which suit the god-men.
The Party Men at the upper echelon are the individual controllers of this institution, posing as its loyal servants. In one sense, they are servants, because all conditioned souls are forced to serve something or someone.They possess some power. Indeed, as far as astral powers are concerned, they are not ordinary men. They are like the brain police, and they control almost all the other devotees in their cult, either directly or indirectly. You should not allow them to control you, however.
Powerful Party Men have honed the ability to influence a section of the malcontents and turn them around, usually through a combination of deception disguised as persuasion, along with various forms of threatened punishment. They utilize the punishment vibe, but it’s mostly a bluff. They have methods to psyche out those who are either opposed to them or doubting them. They are not at all experts in spiritual science, but they are experts in intimidation and the psyche out.
They may employ their skills on malcontents by telling them that their lost faith in the G.B.C. is like a cracked China bowl. In effect, you cannot put a cracked China bowl back together again. You can do it, of course, but it will never look nearly as good as it originally was, i.e., it will never look the same. That is one of the techniques of the Party Man.
They are experts at creating doubt and guilt, masters of deception, masters at bewilderment, experts at enticement, and masters of pseudo-persuasion (which is actually deception). When the situation calls for it, they dish out harassment and psychic punishment within their spheres of influence, both gross and subtle. Not all of them are expert in this black art, but the cream of the bad crop most definitely is.
Their followers—almost all of whom are weak in knowledge, mind control, and yogic development—can hardly escape that institutional black hole once sucked into it. The genuine guru, who they imitate, is different from them. He is heavy in transcendental knowledge, and he is expert in spiritual science. His persuasion is not intimidation.
It is also not based upon—or even at all buttressed by—the institution he works within and makes efforts to expand. You will not find anyone like this in today’s version of “ISKCON,” and real gurus have not been present in that organization for many decades. It is doubtful that there are even any kaniṣṭha-adhikarīs left in it, but there certainly are a plethora of sahajiyās taking advantage of it.
Some of the less deviated followers still have flickering attachment to Prabhupāda, but the “ISKCON” leaders of today—although they make a show of being attached to him—conclusively prove that they do not by their words and actions. They fit the following description:
Morning Walk on Dec. 5, 1973
“Throw him away. ‘Go away, I have now learned.’ Guru-mara-vidyā, the knowledge of how to kill guru. Guru-mara-vidyā. Their philosophy is that you cannot rise up. You take a ladder, but as soon as you rise, throw away the ladder. No more. No more needed. That is Māyāvāda philosophy.”
“ISKCON” had to adapt after the zonal acarya imposition crashed and burned in the mid-Eighties; that institution was floundering and being ditched by many devotees at that time. In order to keep it from cratering, its leaders adopted the tactic of centering upon Prabhupāda in worship services and no longer allowing great pretenders to be worshiped in the temple rooms. They also facilitated the exposure of deviations and scandals, mostly sexual, by select pretenders, thus removing them from the list of approved gurus.You could say that they returned to the principle of keeping THE ĀCĀRYA in the center.
This new tactic—only a tactic, because it was not founded upon genuine love for THE ĀCĀRYA—was effective in combining the collegiate compromise of the mid-Eighties with the previous appointment of gurus scheme in order to keep the institution afloat. If those leaders actually had genuine love for Prabhupāda, they would have returned to square one at that time. They would have legislated and implemented the obvious: No one had actually been a genuine guru after he departed, and, as a result, all of the new people were improperly initiated.
Instead, they took an unauthorized short cut, one which required a new tactic of re-initiation, allowing some of the great pretenders to remain institutional gurus in good standing. It also required the disciples of the others to get re-initiated by those gurus so approved. The institutional quagmire got worse, although, superficially, things improved to some limited extent. That tactic of Prabhupāda centering in the mid-Eighties should not be overblown, as it still fit into the overall “ISKCON” strategy, which remained (and remains) anything but commendable.
This same dichotomy is also found outside of “ISKCON.” It is particularly found amongst the rittviks, whose concocted movement (make that movements, in plural, because Rittvik is highly centrifugal) is founded upon an anti-Vedic idea. The concoction is based upon an unauthorized principle that Prabhupāda allegedly created a completely new paramparā and, as a logical consequence, was the alleged founder of a brand requiring a reversal of the traditional historical perspective.
As such, to rittviks in general, even if they take a conservative approach regarding particulars, Prabhupāda is not the representative of an unbroken tradition. Instead, he has formed a whole new sampradāya, which is being implemented only by them. Rittviks like to think that they are following a higher principle. In that vein, traditional paramparā need not be given any importance; it should be disregarded. Any statement of previous ācāryas that goes against Rittvik is considered irrelevant. Devotees who are actually traditionalists, who have adhered to the guru-paramparā, dispute this and profoundly oppose Rittvik.
All three of the great deviations–”ISKCON,” Neo-Mutt, and Rittvik—have set into motion (in the last four-plus decades), a spiritual war. Directly only in one case, His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda has, in effect, now been put on trial. Did he actually bring a workable paradigm of devotional service to the West? The current results do not look good.
Clearly,the fundamental values of his contribution have been strained by all the deviations embedded in these three great deviations. Everything is being scattered, the center is not holding, and genuine Kṛṣṇa consciousness is hanging by a thread. This is undeniable to any objective onlooker. Indeed, Lord Caitanya’s movement in the Western countries is in danger of being completely lost.
That is not the result of expert management. It is not the result of expert gurus, but it is the result of bad management and bogus gurus. How important is being expert in spiritual life? It is very important. Devotees are not sentimentalists. Consider these following quotes from platform lectures by Prabhupāda early in his movement, while it was still spreading more or less under his control:
Platform Lecture in Los Angeles, 1-12-69
“ . . . if you want to know about spiritual matter, then you must approach a spiritual master who knows the things. How you can learn it from anywhere and everywhere? One must be expert in spiritual knowledge. From him you have to learn.”
Platform Lecture in Melbourne, 4-4-72
“So a man claiming to be in the high position, he must be expert in everything. He must be expert in everything. So, therefore a Vaiṣṇava is called dakṣa, expert. Expert.”
Once the zonal catastrophe was implemented in the Spring of 1978, is this what anyone received? Were any of those pretenders expert in anything? Well, they were: They were expert in bluffing, cheating, and deception. What was the result of it? Based upon institutional imprimatur, was it anything more than creating massive initiation machines? All of these questions are rhetorical, of course.
The guru must be expert. If he is also a genuine dīkṣā-guru, the demands for him to be expert are even greater. He must be expert in spiritual knowledge and realization. He must be expert in guiding his disciple in the right way in order for him to make tangible advancement. The guru must be expert in understanding the psycho-physical nature of his disciple and thus engaging him in a way that will enthuse him, in a way that is compatible with his personality dovetailed in seva.
When the twenty-six qualities of a devotee are delineated, one of these is being expert. This is not referring to the kaniṣṭha; it is referring to the madhyam-adhikarī. The madhyam is qualified to be a spiritual master as a śikṣā-guru, automatically. He is obviously a vartma-pradarśaka guru, as well. However, in our line, he must be specifically given the order by THE ĀCĀRYA in order to initiate new devotees.
The dīkṣā-guru in any genuine sampradāya must be expert in not only the rituals of the initiation ceremony; he must take on the sañchita-karma of his disciple, also. He must be expert, powerful, and realized enough in order to do this and not descend to a lower level. However, if that so-called dīkṣā-guru is pretending to be an uttama-adhikarī, he is already at the lowest level. He already is a sahajiyā.
A sahajiyā is not expert in anything of spiritual or devotional value. Instead, he tends to be envious of anyone who is advanced in understanding and applying the spiritual science. When a neophyte enters into a spiritual institution and becomes initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, that newcomer must be careful not to offend his guru. Such offenses lead him downwards toward sahajiyism. Then, an evil energy can and does enter his astral body. Do not think for a moment that this was not going on even while Prabhupāda was here:
Letter to Dixit, dated Sept. 18, 1976
“I am practically seeing that, as soon as they begin to learn a little Sanskrit, immediately they feel that they have become more than their guru. And then the policy is kill guru and be killed himself.”
Sahajiyās think that they are the best devotees. In point of fact, they are closer to Māyāvādīs than they are to devotees. Actually, they are at the lowest rung of those who can liberally be thought of as Vaiṣṇavas. Consider this quote about the mentality of sahajiyās:
“One may make a show of devotional service like the prākṛta-sahajiyās, or one may try to support his philosophy by joining some caste or identifying himself with a certain dynasty, claiming a monopoly on spiritual advancement. Thus with the support of family tradition, one may become a pseudo guru, or so-called spiritual master.”
In the late Seventies, there were eleven pseudo-gurus at the beginning of The First Transformation. They were not deserving of worship. They all cut high profiles, they all accepted adulation from their godbrothers, and they were all sahajiyās. They were also wild-cards, although all of them were dependent upon the Governing Body Commission for their zones and their statuses as so-called dīkṣā-gurus. Most importantly, they were all covertly opposed to Prabhupāda.
As such, these sahajiyās were also Party Men, so the myriad complex was difficult to figure out. However, it has been figured out for some time by The Vaishnava Foundation, which is offering to you this presentation, containing the real explanation of the pseudo gurus of “ISKCON.” This presentation is for your edification, protection, and realization.
Identifying with “ISKCON” means, at the core level, to self-identify with a mission that, as time rolls on, is more and more opposed to Prabhupāda. This is also the case when it comes to the rittviks and Neo-Mutt. The genuinely initiated disciples of the Sampradāya Ācārya are, therefore, obliged to reaffirm their commitment to him and to his teachings—and only to him and his teachings. If you actually have this attitude, confrontation with “ISKCON,” its gurus, its Party Men, and all of its many deviations and splinter groups is unavoidable.
None of the “ISKCON” leaders were or are experts in terms of spiritual life, but most of them are pragmatic. They know the art of kicking the can down the road. They can be considered pseudo-devotional pragmatists. Time and place rationalizations underpin, in particular, both the “ISKCON” and Rittvik deviations. Western culture is currently influencing both of these movements, big-time.
Although “ISKCON” has undergone three transformations (mostly forced to do so by need for damage control), all of this has been blown off by the Party Men as merely growing pains. They attribute the flotsam of difficulties to be the result of personal ambition, individual pride, and immaturity in carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. Not so. All of these upheavals are the result of a deeper stratum.
At the very core, Western attitudes and the mode of passion permeate individual conditioning within wayward disciples. The principalities and modes were already present in the leaders of “ISKCON” far before they actuated their contribution to post-modern pandemonium. There are bogus processes underlying the deviations they have introduced, and these automatically clash with the guru-paramparā.
At the heart of everything that they have done is the fact that none of those men (who doled out easy initiations) was qualified to do so. Newcomers to Kṛṣṇa consciousness need to confront this fact and come to grips with it. This does generate some conflict within, but there is no need to be upset about that development.
“ISKCON” is a cleft organization: There are two conflicting mentalities within it. One relies on pragmatism. It relies on judge-by-the-material-results, might makes right, and time-place-circumstance. Any new agenda (read, tactic) is to be judged through this prism. The other bases its conclusions on a literal approach to what Prabhupāda said and wrote, but these Party Men constitute the minority report.
One faction sees continuous innovation as the key to spreading the movement far and wide. They conveniently consider the phrase “time, place, and circumstances” as utilitarian. They are also prone to misuse the “utility is the principle” shibboleth. The traditionalists, barely hanging on at this time (and soon to be wiped out), say “time, place, and circumstance” can only be an adjustment that fits restricted, short-term situations, having no application in the long term.
In “ISKCON,” these Western utilitarian values are accentuated in a disguised form. The cult promotes an anti-intellectual bent that is noticeably present throughout the rank-and-file. Despite its sophisticated penchant for pseudo-scholasticism during The Second Transformation, it is not at all intellectually oriented in practice. Instead of occult realization and spiritual power through austerity, material results are the be-all and end-all as far as the Party Man is concerned.
Utilitarian pragmatism necessitates that truth is made real only by empirical (or apparent) verification, i.e., if the philosophy—and action according to it—pays off. In that philosophy, there are not universal truths that hold true in all circumstances. If any idea is proposed, that idea or innovation is made true when events show that it has become materially demonstrable as an idea that works. The Party Men are profoundly skeptical of any teaching, knowledge or wisdom—even if it is received through Prabhupāda’s books and the guru-paramparā—if that teaching does not produce material results.
The results, of course, must also accord to what they desire. As such, from this perspective, God is on the side of the biggest results, i.e., the Machiavellian dictum that the only sin is failure. Results can be made bigger in empirical reality if the idea of pragmatism is combined effectively with time, place, and circumstance compromise.
Such pragmatic “adjustments” entail non-devotees giving their hard-earned money to “ISKCON.” This approach does not combine at all with genuine Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however. As a theory of what constitutes Truth, pragmatism underlies many post-modern moral systems in the West, especially in politics and sociology. Except in rare cases, it rejects theistic notions of transcendence. It rejects innate universals or absolute ideas, but this is what Kṛṣṇa consciousness is all about.
Western pragmatism permeates and pollutes the Party Men, affording them the opportunity to unwittingly coalesce under its banner whenever threatened. Guru-paramparā means the divine tradition. The devotees who believe in paramparā, who believe in its teachings, who believe in its injunctions, who believe in its principles, laws, and universals, can be called conservative traditionalists. Only they can actually become experts in spiritual science, not pragmatists.
The post-modern stalwarts of “ISKCON” consider the pragmatic scheme so important that it must always trump any restrictions of tradition (guru-paramparā). It covertly puts Prabhupāda on trial. This will invariably serve to break the guru-paramparā and re-invent a so-called tradition seeped in unauthorized Western pseudo-Vaiṣṇavism. It is in blatant contradiction and opposition to all that Prabhupada taught.
Instead of being a submissive recipient of the message, now the so-called sādhaka decides what is true, what is false, what is best, and what is the higher intention—when, in point of fact, whatever he comes up with is nothing more than his own flawed agenda. When a doctor prescribes the medicine, he describes the prescription, and the dosage; the patient is supposed to follow his directions as given. On the other hand, this new agenda of the Party Men allows every devotee—as long as he or she continues to pledge allegiance to “ISKCON”—to substitute his or her own agenda or intention in place of the tradition, as long as it does not clash with G.B.C. policy and produces material results.
It allows these pseudo-sādhakas to substitute their feelings as the paramount consideration trumping the dictates of what Prabhupāda attempted to establish. The result of this will never be creating devotees expert in spiritual science, but, as we have seen, the most powerful of them have become expert in formulating initiation machines.
It is all rooted in an application of Western pragmatism, in the name of “utility is the principle.” In order to achieve ephemeral, secondary, and institutional objectives—with, for good measure, the “time, place, and circumstance” trope added to the mix—an ever-changing movement is thus irreversibly transformed on the river of no return.
To say that Western civilization (Anglo-American culture) is now intrinsic to “ISKCON” is to make an understatement. The philosophies that undergird Western culture have injected themselves powerfully into “ISKCON,” and they should be seen for just what they are. On the whole, Westerners are inclined to empiricism, thinking that the “reality” of sensual particulars outweighs the fantasy of universal truths.
“ISKCON” Westerners, in the same vein, tend to also be utilitarians. These counter-cultural leftists think that people are fundamentally good; they just need the right social environment and education in order to make them of useful consequence. In Kali-yuga, however, this presumption is wrong, and that has been demonstrated repeatedly.
The spirit self is all good, but the ahaṅkāra and sva-bhāva of Westerners is mostly evil. Vaiṣṇava prachāra does not measure the good of any action by its so-called results. It does not consider that any course of action (liable to produce degradation in the name of “good results”) constitutes real progress in developing personal sattva.
One of the zonals, heavily involved in the implementation of the First Transformation, kept stretching the rubber band with more and more audacity up to his violent end. While he was a major influence, he introduced covert Māyāvāda into the movement around the time The Hindoo Hodgepodge got its foot in the door.He revealed his real face when he asked, “Can our agenda be pushed further?” In order to promulgate the mission to “diasporic Indian congregations” (read, to the Hindoo Hodgepodge), a blurring of the irreversible divide separating personalists from impersonalists was offered.
He similarly concocted that, although Prabhupāda defined his mission in terms of the defeat of the Māyāvadīs (and most Hindus are under Māyāvāda influence), it produced alienation, confusion, and offense to the above-mentioned diaspora. In effect, this former zonal, along with one of his buddies, authored a paper which advocated that a pillar of Vaiṣṇava preaching should be abandoned in the name of spreading the movement by implementing a pro-Māyāvāda approach into it.
He further backed the notion of any yoga practitioner being the “final arbiter” of what constitutes devotional service, viz., ye old time, place, and circumstance rationalization. In other words, his final position paper made the sādhaka the determiner of what is bona fide and what is not. It allows him to judge whether Śrīla Prabhupāda was right or wrong on any conclusion or preaching strategy. That puts Prabhupāda on trial, but our verdict is that he is not guilty. Another way of saying the same thing is that you can’t pin the “ISKCON” deviations on Prabhupāda.
The colossal hoax known as the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” confederation is a pseudo-spiritual scam. In human life, on the material plane, you win some and you lose some. There is no need for this rule to apply to spiritual life, however. It is up to you to make sure that it does not, which means, if you are new to the process of bhakti-yoga, you need to do your homework before you go all in with any organization.
You need not be victimized by any of the three initiation machines today posing as conduits to spiritual perfection, as there is no spiritual sequence following any connection to them. Study the history, and accept nothing less than being guided by an expert devotee.
You will not find any of those in “ISKCON,” however. Instead, you will find leaders there who are expert in gaslighting and concocting revenue enhancement schemes, as evidenced by the plainclothes pick from back in the day and the current Hindoo Hodgepodge compromise of The Third Transformation. That expertise is not what you are looking for if you are sincere and serious in spiritual life.
Contact with the tattva and siddhanta that Prabhupāda has made available to everyone is what should be your inclination. That is encouraged in this presentation, so understand what went down in his movement and work on attaining the knowledge of what is bona fide and bogus in carrying out devotional service which pleases the Founder-Ācārya.
With a combination of sincerity, seriousness, and knowledge, all you need is to add transcendental luck, and you are good to go. If you have been listening to and/or reading this presentation—and, just as importantly, if you have assimilated its clear message—then you have added that fourth item of the portfolio of transcendental luck to your spiritual folder. Avoid getting near the black hole represented by “ISKCON,” because there is a point of no return if you happen to wander in there.
SAD EVA SAUMYA
Other material by the author: Return to Square One