Devotee Writings etc.

“When Our Men Will Be Sahajiyas” Part 1 of 4

by bhakta Eric Johanson


“These sahajiyas will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Maharaja’s disciples, so many sahajiyas came. These are called sahajiyas. Very easily they capture thing. So my Guru Maharaja used to say, ‘When my disciples will be sahajiya, it will be more dangerous. He used to say like that. Take things very easily.” A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Room Conversation on January 28, 1977 in Bhuvanesvara


Cognitive Dissonance


The theory of cognitive dissonance was first presented in 1956 by a social psychologist named Leon Festinger. He studied a UFO cult based in Chicago whose leader predicted that the world would end on a certain date. Festinger wanted to study the aftershock and related effects when the prophecy failed to come true. Cognitive dissonance is defined as the uncomfortable feeling of two contradictory ideas being held simultaneously. In the case cited, upon realizing that the world had not ended, cult members were forced to acknowledge that their previous idea was wrong; this is called a disconfirmed expectancy. The leader then declared that the non-event was due to the extreme faith of the group’s members in her teachings; the catastrophy had been averted due to this faith – the cause for scheduled cataclysm had been removed. Only a couple of the eleven members left the group; many of those who remained became even more devoted.


A similar sequence of events occurred in the Krishna consciousness movement after the manifest departure of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1977. Under his bona fide direction, devotees became convinced that the movement would take over the entire world; they were infused with his absolute view. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had predicted that the chanting would spread to “every town and village.” It was easy to assume that the ISKCON institution (International Society for Krishna Consciousness)  would be the manifestaton of this prediction, since it had already established itself in almost every major city of the world. Srila Prabhupada once paraphrased what a Japanese gentleman had written, saying, “This Movement, as it is growing fast, within ten years the whole world will become Hindu.” (Morning Walk at Marina del Rey on July 13, 1974 in Los Angeles – All subsequent unattributed quotes by Srila Prabhupada)


Cognitive dissonance first became prominent in the Krishna consciousness movement when the so-called zonal acaryas became enmeshed in scandal. Although the most serious disciples of Srila Prabhupada had refused to whatsoever accept the eleven zonal acarya’s 1978 takeover, virtually all the others had remained loyal to them, so to speak. Nevertheless some older devotees still entangled in the institution found something amiss when, for instance, one zonal was overheard calling another “a smuck.” Although the zealous throng of fanatics surrounding any of the eleven could always be whipped into the frenzy of “transcendental competition” by such remarks, those who had engaged in more serious service found substantial reason to doubt – “How could one completely pure, perfect personality refer to another in such a derogatory manner?”


As the scandals spread from one zone to another, these initial sparks of doubt grew into huge fires. The biggest scandal by far was the murder of the dissident Sulocana dasa by an enforcer from Kirtanananda’s New Vrndavana. At this point (1985-7), the GBC (Governing Body Commission of the ISKCON institution) was forced to “reform” the zonal dispensation in hopes of extinguishing as much of the blaze as possible.


In this approximate time-frame the devotees who had submitted to the zonal acaryas found themselves separating into three prominient factions, and these are now familiar to all. Despite the sometimes savage infighting between them, it can be demonstrated that cognitive dissonance has been the most influencial factor in the subsequent development of all of them. The source of the cognitive dissonance was their carried-over triumphalist view of the future of the Hare Krishna movement, while being forced to see that it was going the route of so many mundane religious groups – the “disconfirmed expectancy.”


One could rightly argue that applying mundane psychological criteria to the practice of pure Krishna consciousness is offensive. This is not the case, however, when discussing groups that are deviated from the standards of the disciplic succession. In such cases, the exhibition of mundane psychological behavior is further proof that, within these groups, there is activity impelled by the three modes of material nature.


The “Test”


As the individual zonals became disgraced, a familiar senario of cognitive dissonance repeated itself in many temples. Rank and file devotees were told by middle-manager hatchet men that the scandalous events surrounding their so-called pure devotee were all a “test” sent by Maya (illlusion).  These tests were sent to see if they would maintain their faith, and many then devoted themselves with renewed enthusiasm as a result. Those who left, on the other hand, were denigrated and viewed as “weak,” or bad apples that had been shaken from the tree.


More deluded zealots saw the scandals as indications that their leader was an incarnation of Lord Shiva or somesuch, and that they were part of his divine pastimes or “lila.” These, as well as others who hardened themselves to endure even worse possible events, imagined that such dedication would make them eligible to go back to Godhead. There were even those who became capable of riding this psychological roller-coaster or haunted house more than once. Scandalized zonal acaryas who saw themselves as beneath another “pet-disciple” in the pecking order advised their disciples to migrate to that “superior guru.” Then, several years later, some variant of the same syndrome repeated in the new setting.


Older Prabhupada initiates often reacted differently. Of course, many had already been driven out by the time the scandals hit. As direct disciples of the zonals became better managers or manipulators, the less fanatical disciples of His Divine Grace became quite expendable. This overt or covert expulsion created a great deal of resentment, and numerous horror stories began to be whispered about the movement. Prabhupada initiates who wanted to “remain on the boat” gravitated to those temples where the “guru” was less narcissistic or heavy handed; those who concluded that the boat was sinking did otherwise.


Another Influence


Previous to the departure of Srila Prabhupada from manifest presence in 1977, only a handful of malcontents left the movement to become associated with the remnants of the Gaudiya Matha. Those who had left the shelter of Srila Prabhupada were rightly deprecated by their (former) Godbrothers. By 1977 Srila Prabhupada’s conclusions about his Godbrothers were well known throughout the Society. Devotees generally knew that some of “the Godbrothers” were extremely envious of Srila Prabhupada, and that associating with them was dangerous and could easily destroy one’s ability to keep full faith in the spiritual master (Srila Prabhupada).


“If you are serious to be an important assistant in our Society, you should fully engage yourself in translation work. And do not mix yourself with my so-called Godbrothers. . . There are many rascals in the name of Vaishnavas; be careful of them.” Letter to Niranjana, November 21, 1972


“Actually amongst 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.” Letter to Rupanuga, April 28, 1974


This standard was completely ignored by the zonal acaryas in the immediate aftermath of Srila Prabhupada’s departure, however. They could have intensely poured over Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding succession, or they could have consulted the movement’s own scholars in this regard. Instead, their ambition dictated that they should approach the “senior authority” of Swami B.R. Sridhara for the purpose of having the credibility of an older devotee’s endorsement. His remark: “Rittvik-acharya, then it becomes as good as acharya,” and his Bengali cliché “mad guru si jagat guru” were like gasoline on the fire of that ambition. The results of that advice should now be apparent to everyone.


Aided by the counsel of Swami B.R. Sridhara, the zonal acaryas began their imitation of devotees on the highest level. This purport from a book that should have been consulted was either dismissed or completely ignored:


“However, one should not imitate the behavior of an advanced devotee or maha-bhagavata without being self-realized, for by such imitation one will eventually become degraded. . . The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform.” Nectar of Instruction, Text 5, purport


The disconfirmed expectancy of the zonal’s scandals and abuse of their Godbrothers and Godsisters affected the direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada in a different manner than the “initiated” followers of the zonal acaryas. A segment of these direct disciples were driven to resolve their internal conflicts by also approaching the same “senior authority” in Navadvipa who had advised the eleven. The earlier standard prohibiting association with Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers was very little deterrence in the face of this reaction to a flood of cognitive dissonance.


“I Am as Good as Him”


The fault-finding tendency of many disciples of Srila Prabhupada was also inflamed by the disconfirmed expectancy they experienced when the scandals unfolded. Many of them remembered the weak sadhana and sense control of some of the eleven before their instant group-ascension to “pure devotees.” Many had initially harbored internal doubts about the eleven pretender mahabhagavats rising to such exalted positions in such a short time. When the scandals hit, these doubts were confirmed.


I personally heard one senior devotee, an “incarnation” of sorts, say to a group during breakfast prasadam in Berkeley that, “I am as good as him.” He was discussing a zonal acarya who was undergoing an embarrassing situation at the time. Many of these men, who had been passed over when the eleven were selected, now felt that they also deserved the same elevated seat. This phenomenon, when it had previously occurred in the Gaudiya Matha, was described very nicely by Srila Prabhupada. The prescient irony contained in this first letter is self-evident:


“So Sridhara Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya, even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no ability to preach. In some of the camps, the acarya is being changed three times a year. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp.” Letter to Rupanuga, April 28, 1974


“Unfortunately, when the acarya disappears, rogues and non-devotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles. . .  The acarya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered.” Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.28.48, purport


The social arrangement of Srila Prabhupada’s movement, when it functioned correctly, included a transcendental peer pressure wherein devotees felt accountable for their unauthorized behavior and thoughts. With this subtle structure in disarray, deluded devotees created an overblown assessment of their level of advancement. Pandora’s Box had been opened; getting the genie back in the bottle was going to be next to impossible.


When criticizing the leaders became widespread, the GBC was forced to implement major damage control. The pressure from the temple presidents and other middle managers (the “reform” movement) could not be turned aside after the murder and scandals. The group attitude devolved to no longer be predominantly one of service but rather one of thinking that one could do a better job than the “gurus.” And this took place among far too many devotees, with the exception of the aforementioned zonal chelas. Such were the results of the zonal acaryas’ example of faithlessness in regard to implementing Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on succession. The eleven weeds created many more seeds.


This loss of service attitude and respect for authority affected Srila Prabhupada’s followers en-mass and was taken by them into whatever faction (to be made clear shortly) that they gravitated to. Cognitive dissonance thus reaped a wide swath in what was formerly a movement of bhakti yogis.


Those who left Srila Prabhupada to serve the Gaudiya Matha leaders were by no means immune from this. A predominant misconception amongst these refugees was that they had received only the basic knowledge of Krishna consciousness from Srila Prabhupada; they were now going to be enlightened (allegedly) in the more advanced levels of “svarupa siddhi.” Apparently, all the ordeals (“tests”) were ordained to funnel them to someone capable of teaching every refugee in the intimate details of their eternal relationship with Krishna in the spiritual world. Their inflated conceptions of their own advancement kept them from admitting that they had just been hoodwinked by the dharmadhvaji (pretender) zonals and that, therefore, their misguided consciousness hardly made them eligible for svarupa siddhi.


The worst factor for those who left the shelter of Srila Prabhupada was that they took on the Gaudiya Matha way of supposedly practicing Krishna consciousness. These devotees like to count how many of their leaders accept that it is not possible for a living entity to fall from the spiritual world; this is, in part, to demonstrate that there is unanimity in their camp on this controversial issue. Although they like to single out a very few quotations of Srila Prabhupada that apparently agree with them, it can be clearly demonstrated that this was not his teaching. Accepting their conclusion is a clear deviation from the siddhanta put forward by the last Sampradaya Acarya, the one moon who outshone all of the stars.


Not all of Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers were envious of him, but most of them associated with those who were not at all hesitant to make poisonous remarks. The general view of Srila Prabhupada among “the Godbrothers” was that he was offensive to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada, mostly because he had allowed his disciples to also address him as “Prabhupada.” Once one was in “the Godbrother’s” association, therefore, it became “proper etiquette” to refer to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami by that group’s title for him: “Swami Maharaja.”


If a disciple of Srila Prabhupada did not get this understanding from the Gaudiya Matha directly, he heard it from another (former?) disciple of Srila Prabhupada who was closely associated with the group. This kind of association also transmitted the misconception that Srila Prabhupada had only trained his disciples in the ABC’s of Krishna consciousness. It was also not uncommon to hear in these groups that Srila Prabhupada was only in the fraternal rasa, but that Srila-this-or-that was actually in conjugal rasa – and therefore higher than the Sampradaya Acarya; some fools actually accepted this poison.


“When our disciples similarly wanted to address their spiritual master as Prabhupada, some foolish people became envious. Not considering the propaganda work of the Hare Krsna movement, simply because these disciples addressed their spiritual master as Prabhupada, they became so envious that they formed a faction along with other such envious persons just to minimize the value of the Krsna consciousness movement. To chastise such fools, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami very frankly says, keha karibare nare jyestha-laghu-krama. Anyone who is a bona fide preacher of the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must be respectful to the real devotees of Lord Caitanya; one should not be envious, considering one preacher to be very great and another to be very lowly. This is a material distinction and has no place on the platform of spiritual activities.” Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila, 10.7, Purport


“Regarding your questions about how and from where did the conditioned souls fall, your first question if someone has a relationship with Lord Krsna on Krsnaloka, does he ever fall down? The souls are endowed with minute independence as part of their nature and this minute independence may be utilized rightly or wrongly at any time, so there is always the chance of falling down by misuse of one’s independence. But those who are firmly fixed up in devotional service to Krsna are making proper use of their independence and so they do not fall down.

Regarding your second question, have the conditioned souls ever seen Krsna? Were they with the Lord before being conditioned by the desire to lord it over material nature? Yes, the conditioned souls are parts and parcels of the Lord and thus they were with Krsna before being conditioned. Just as the child must have seen his father because the father places the child in the womb of the mother, similarly each soul has seen Krsna or the Supreme Father. But at that time the conditioned souls are resting in the condition called susupti which is exactly deep sleep without dream, or anesthetized state, therefore they do not remember being with Krsna when they wake up in the material world and become engaged in material affairs. I hope this will satisfy your questions.” Letter to Jagadisha, LA, April 25, 1970


Cognitive Dissonance Run Amok


Of the three main factions of Srila Prabhupada’s followers, no group is more a product of cognitive dissonance than the rittviks. Rittvik was not even formulated until well after most of the zonal acaryas became personally and institutionally disgraced. By 1989, much of the Gaudiya Matha faction had broken away and was already engaged in battle on various fronts with the ISKCON institution. Although the Gaudiya matha was certainly an alternative, many followers of Srila Prabhupada, both original initiates and disciples of the “new gurus,” could not leave his shelter and accept him on an equal level with “the godbrothers.” They were still conscious of the old prohibition – and rightly so.


Although the original formulators of rittvik, as well as its most persuasive leaders, were all senior and mid-level disciples of Srila Prabhupada, the real driving force behind rittvik were all of the now disconnected disciples of disgraced zonal acaryas. The GBC had failed in a big way to create a graceful solution for these people. When their previous “guru” had been recognized, many of them had risen in the ranks of his particular cult, becoming accustomed to all sorts of name and recognition. Many were so-called second initiates, and there were even sannyasis. When their zonal acarya became persona-non-grata, however, these newcomers were all instantaneously thrown into a kind of purgatory. They understandably experienced no shortage of bitterness and extreme anger – due to all of the previous personal sacrifice and austerity performed apparently for nothing.


Many of these new people were those who had become even more devoted to their so-called guru when his scandals started to emerge into group consciousness. When he finally gave up the charade, however, they felt burned to the core. They directed this rage not only at their “guru” and his hatchet men but toward the source of the whole nightmare – the GBC.


All of these people had been indoctrinated in ladder-climbing by their former masters, since that is how the zonal acaryas had achieved their own prominence. Your position on the “pet disciple” list was, after all, determined by how many letters you had from Srila Prabhupada and how much time you had spent buzzing around Prabhupada’s physical form. When the followers of those men found themselves without a ladder to climb, it was extremely humiliating. Oblivious to this discomfort, the “authority” – the GBC – coldly mandated that these people must choose yet another post-holder for “re-initiation.” In other words, they had to start ladder-climbing all over again. At this point in their own “growing pains,” the GBC was blind to both its hubris and the effects of its self-interested damage control; they continued to overlord just like before. There is no doubt that the Commission has regretted many times how those new people were mishandled after the scandals transpired.


Anyway, some devotees were re-initiated even more than once; it was cognitive dissonance piled upon cognitive dissonance, a kind of layer cake. It was all squared, cubed, and so on – a psychological horror show. By 1989, the resentment towards the GBC and especially its treatment of the new people was becoming more than palpable. All of these many disconnected devotees could be likened to minerals dissolved in a chemical solution that had been heated by personal austerity and penance. After the scandals, that fire died down very quickly, and the solution became, what is called in chemistry, super-saturated. The rittvik formula, when it was presented in 1989, was the required alchemical catalyst, and the entire faction crystallized almost instantaneously.




The servants of the zonals were formerly described in a study that had been performed on devotees in the mid-Eighties by psychologist Dr. Arnie Weiss. He wrote, “My study had some interesting results. The most prominent was that on the Comrey Personality Scales, both male and female devotees showed a hallmark personality trait. On the average, devotees scored way above the normal range in compulsivity. I don’t know of any other group . . . that has been studied, that has such a pronounced measure of compulsivity.” Devotees were close to the norm on most other measures.


People with an extreme amount of compulsion are described as having Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. Although devotees were not necessarily described as having that disorder, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders gives some indication of the traits associated with compulsivity in this description:


“Individuals with this disorder are rigidly deferential to authority and rules and insist on quite literal compliance, with no rule bending for extenuating circumstances.” (p. 670, 1998 edition)


“People with this disorder may be especially attentive to their relative status in dominance-submission relationships and may display excessive deference to an authority they respect and excessive resistance to authority that they do not respect.” (p. 671, 1998 edition)


These descriptions accurately describe the previous thinking of those who flocked to rittvik. By 1989, their former masters had indirectly created these results, i.e., one extreme was replaced by another. Although it may not have been apparent to the founders, the genius in the rittvik formula was that it not only recognized all of the burnt, fried, and deep fried former followers of the zonal acaryas, it actually elevated them to a higher position than they had achieved previously.  It was a ladder-climbing win-win, so to speak. Everyone got to go on being treated like so-called brahmanas, and they got to keep their “initiated” spiritual names. Everyone got patted on the back.


All of the cognitive dissonance of seeing one’s so-called guru become disgraced and all of the disconfirmed expectancy of seeing the movement factionalize – all of that was instantly evaporated. Any idea of how an insincere person contacts a pretender guru was completely swept under the rug. Rittvik made everything more than perfect for all these people. It was all so obvious to them: “Why hadn’t we seen before that this was what Srila Prabhupada had really wanted?” There was only one problem, a very big one: It was not authorized by the Gaudiya Vaishnava parampara.


The shastric mistake of the rittviks was that they took a naimittika instruction – a time, place, circumstance, and management instruction (regarding how initiations were to be performed when His Divine Grace was manifest but did not personally conduct the initiation ceremony) – and put it on the level of his nitya instructions, such as chanting Hare Krishna and reading the books. The absurdity of this concoction reaches its zenith when some of the rittviks claim Srila Prabhupada is to be the only guru for the next ten thousand years.  How do they make such a preposterous claim? Simply because someone (Tamal Krishna Swami) had used the word “henceforward” in writing a letter that Srila Prabhupada merely signed.


Note: An earlier version of this article, 21st Century Meleccha Sahajiya Cults, was posted on the Sampradaya Sun and Vaishnava Foundation websites and was extensively edited by Sriman Kailasa Candra dasa. Much of that edited content remains herein, for which the author is grateful.


“When Our Men Will Be Sahajiyas” Part 2 of 4

“When Our Men Will Be Sahajiyas” Part 3 of 4

“When Our Men Will Be Sahajiyas” Part 4 of 4



      Gaurasundara prabhu, Pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Thanks for your comment. You will need to provide some evidence to prove your assertion. So many advocates of rittvik are sentimentalists just believing Srila Prabhupada wanted it; but there is no direct order, just interpretations of statements and letters that others interpret in whole other ways. Much more is needed for the idea to be taken seriously because there are so many direct orders for the opposite – for Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to become gurus. your servant, bhakta Eric

  • Borndaitya

    These analysis are great, …there is but a grave loophole in all your and VF writings that you don’t give the only solution, you don’t even mentioned it once in most if not all of your writings. This is not good at all, it looks like you got stock and grounded in disgruntlement, which though excused and right hasn’t been enough to free you and make you willing to cross over those predicaments you so skilfully pointed out.

  • Borndaitya

    GAURASUNDARA DAS there ain’t no anything like an ,”rittvik order” in the entire Vaishnava practice history, you guys are impressed by unfortunate mundane evaluations, as pointed well in the above analysis, by some adhira type bittered individuals who were plaque by doubts and envy. Stop expanding your fermented acid any further, that’s the best to begin with. This rittvik arrangements which were implemented by Srila Prabhupada were certainly wonderful, no sane man will try to imitate him. The only reason for both the ongoing diksa scams in around the westernized so called Hare Krishna the seemingly traditional bonafide pancaratrika granted by an institution via guru clerks and the contrived self made rittvik of the guruvada sahajiya loose sects is envy spawning from various Mayavada influences.

  • Borndaitya

    Having accused you bhakta Eric of an important insufficiency I am obligated to clarify my stand a bit more, especially now, when you humbly posted my rather blameful comment. Being a very low and practically suicidal type of being I have experienced all kinds of trouble while trying to adopt into the sadhana bhakti practices as thought by HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Stuka Prabhupada, yet after forty years I am still chanting Hare Krishna ( improving the practice), making it short, why is that possible? It was made possible when after pushed by my unrestricted senses and mind ( manah sasta indriyani) to almost break down completely in 2010 February I begged for help to one of our predecessor acaryas and the response was that instantly I took my dhoti and karatals and went out doing street chanting. A miracle, this miracle keeps me still a life and like eating or sleeping I do it daily. This is the Golden Age! This is the solution! There ain’t no other one, neither now nor in the future! I am not offensive saying that I can’t trust anyone who downplays the uttermost primary and only one method of self-realization in this full of faults ocean of hypocrisy and lie. I don’t trust VF nor anyone else, no matter how esoterically and conclusively they talk as long as they don’t pay full attention to the essential order and reason for Sri Panca Tattva Prabhus appearance. Sastra is clearly saying three times, except for the sankirtana yajna there is no other way! Who and how wants to perform purely this yajna without full commitment to practice? This requires time and a lot of own blood shed. Are you guys going to be another edition of saints who are exception to the rule, again?! This is not going to work, no matter what an excuse your mind is giving you, this is not going to work! Please forgive me my audacity to speak so strongly.


      Borndaitya prabhu, Pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Thank you for filling in the blanks both wordwise and absolutely. Yes, it all rests and comes down to harinam. I am not a leader nor singer. I miss street sankirtana and so much else from when I joined. When I get with our other members we do it. My honor and respects to you if you do it alone – a sure trip back to Godhead. Kailasa prabhu taught me to write, so I try to prevent devotees from being misled. You should speak strongly about the essence of our process. your servant, bhakta Eric ps. thanks for regularly reading and visiting our site.

  • Borndaitya

    All glories to the beautiful devotees of Lord Sri Krishna under the loving guidance of HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada! Thank you Bhakta Prabhu for your kind and humble answer. By the way I am not a singer neither, it’s not really about skills it’s about struggling to develop or rather discover the kind of inseparable dependency of the Sankirtana our hearts are nade of. Thank you for kindly tolerating my proud, the thing which is a great obstacle to chanting of Hare Krishna. I am only trying, again and again, “trying is not doing, but trying we must” . All glories to the Hare Krishna Sankirtana!


      Dear Borndaitya prabhu, Pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! So towards the end of part 3, there is a discussion on unity among Srila Prabhupada’s followers. Some say Varnasrama is most important. Others say harinam. Others the GBC, etc. However, the siddhanta as given in the sastra is like the state law. If we don’t follow that or minimize our deviations from it, we can hardly claim to be strictly following the orders of Krishna. Following sastra is the basis for claiming to be a devotee. It’s the ground floor and basis for doing everything else purely. Therefore it is the business of anyone who calls themself a devotee to “become educated in spiritual life.” Certainly this is what is missing and why everyone is at each other’s throats. We’re supposed to be able to discuss these differences civilly, as brahmanas, but it’s Kali yuga and even truth is on the wane. Citing that quote about disturbing Krishna, there’s just too many so-called devotees who are doing that. your servant, bhakta Eric

  • Borndaitya

    Continuing a little in a spirit of quasi nitpicking about everything… Personally my mind is still impressed with your implementation of the knowledge of yhe phenomenon of cognitive dissonance and the way you implemented it, though I knew it from yours or VF writings from earlier on. However, the doubt or maybe a compulsive fault finding would be like this. The modern science of western psychology is based on a fully material concept of consciousness, though some conclusions of that science ( main trends of various concepts within it) especially those based on behavioristic alone seem to be irreplaceable are we who at least suppose to embrace the theistic view on the self apply fully material ideas to understand the various conditionings of the indwelling jivas? From one of the conversations on the model of the Universe as in the 5 the Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam where Tamal G. got stuck in his attempt to understand how twofold air traffic rout from LA to Tokyo which seems to speak in favor of the earth globe instead of the Vedic great bhumandala plane Earth, it there where desperately looking for something Srila Prabhupada didn’t provide Tamal’s mind he asks his tricky Machiavellian way whether we belief in karmis maps, geography, compass and so on. Srila Prabhupada ends his efforts to enlighten him, us, saying to this gravely ” we belief in nothing”. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! In another words Prabhu, would be there more appropriate perhaps and still understandable in modern contexts way to explain our various sahajiya inclinations for example leaving the all well blending in concept of cognitive dissonance? Still want to thank you and herewith also thank Kailasacandra Prabhu for your continuous efforts to enlighten us all. Hare Krishna!

  • Borndaitya

    So, since you choose not to answer I would like to contribute a little alternatively to the materially conceived concept of cognitive dissonance in the subject matter of the various mindsets as they appear while trying for spiritual growth in devotion to Sri Govinda. Since the consciousness of a conditioned atma jiva is infatuated with lust, which though originating from unconditional love of God perverts into the “me and I ” concept, he is forced to judge everything happens to him based on win and loose game only, aham kara works in terms of kind like “I am running the showt” then he is cought in on and on trying for to improve his position in the only known to him scheme of “I am the doer, I am in control”. Being such, the situation is of being pushed around while helplessly trying to secure some bits of luck, when in reality only known to the higher authorities various scenarios from the past and present life karma display in often mind blowing configurations keeping the poor jive in tormenting grips. Only after we come to our senses and realize the hopelessness of our selfish efforts and turn our face towards the Caitya Guru, then He will guide us on the path of devotion to Him, so we may regain our forgotten love to Him alone.
    So, how would this work instead of the concept of cognitive dissonance which perhaps would also have to be a cognitive dissonance itself ?


      Dear Borndaitya prabhu, Pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Thank you for your comments. I have been busy and was not ignoring you. Cognitive dissonance was discussed in the article. As devotees we do not reflexively reject all material knowledge. Sense observation, pratyaksa, and hypothesis, anumana, are both valid as Vedic evidence. So when discussing the conditioned responses of deviated devotees, we can expect some agreement with the observations and theories of psychologists. As mentioned in the article, when the sincere bhakti yogi finds that their two beliefs contradict each other, they give up the non-Krishna conscious one. The point of using the theory of cognitive dissonance in this study of devotees was to show how their responses were as predicted by the psychologists, which is that much more proof that the devotees were not above the modes of nature but very much under them. Sadly, this largely remains the case.

      Now this is not to minimize your nice explanation of the frailties of ahankara. This was certainly at play throughout the article’s described drama and is a more accurate Krishna conscious analysis. Srila Prabhupada said that maya’s duty is to weed out those who have come to Krishna to disturb Him. Those who served the zonal acaryas certainly helped them do so big disturbing.
      “So in the beginning, if you take to Krishna consciousness, there will be so many disturbances by the maya. Maya will test you how far you are fixed up. She will test you. She is also agent of Krishna. She does not allow anyone who is meant for disturbing Krishna. Therefore she tests very rigidly whether you are…, you have taken Krishna consciousness to disturb Krishna, or you are actually serious.” Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.20, New York, April 12, 1973
      Thanks again, bhakta Eric

  • Borndaitya

    Yes, certainly we do not reject anything blindly if it may serve the cause of KC. Personally I found the tenant’s of cognitive dissonance as used by you very helpful to understand the here and now, so to say….but still not really essential in getting to the roots of the problem. We both were actively serving in IsCon and looks like we have to do much work to reconcile so many things to clear our way out of that. My little challenging you Prabhu is only for the clarification of ideas in my own personal struggling. It’s not because of proud but rather to check it by means of entertaining variety of approaches, seeing that actually differences are temporary manifestations of the illusory energy pinned to our ahankara, by which we get attached to particular dictates of our own minds. All glories to HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada by whoes mercy we may live this wonderful life of pursuing bhakti yoga. Hare Krishna!


      Dear Borndaitya prabhu, Pranams. Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Yes, the sincere devotee always feels repentance for their involvement in previous material activity or bewilderment by so-called Krishna consciousness. You were not so much challenging as presenting another explanation in the manner of Mahaprabhu’s elaborating on atmarama. This is real Krishna katha. your servant, bhakta Eric

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