Understanding The Present Circumstances
It is very interesting that Srila prabhupada in his purport to the famous Cc Madhya-lila 19.151 verse and to the verses that follow fully explains the circumstances which we find ourselves in today with the show-bottle, joint mess, farce that has become of ISKCON.
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”
“If the living entity by chance or fortune comes in contact with the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and wishes to associate with that movement, Kṛṣṇa, who is situated in everyone’s heart, gives him the chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master. This is called guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāda.”
Coming in contact with the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is supposed to mean a chance to associate with Srila Prabhupada as the bona fide spiritual master, since he established himself as the founder and acharya of the movement and diksa-giving (initiating) spiritual master (with no instruction of his to be found that changes this role).
“Bhakti-latā-bīja can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get bhakti-latā-bīja (yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ).Bhakti-latā-bīja is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bīja, or root cause, of karma, jñāna and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. However, one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-latā-bīja. This bhakti-latā-bīja is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. After receiving the spiritual master’s mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called śravaṇa-kīrtana-hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kīrtana). This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.41): vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit to chant or preach the cult of devotional service. One has to water the bhakti-latā-bīja after receiving instructions from the spiritual master.”
All members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must hear and repeat Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. If we do not properly hear from Srila Prabhupada or do not follow his discipline, which constitutes faith, we are not fit for chanting or preaching because we are not satisfying Srila Prabhupada. Thus our devotional service is hampered from the very beginning (root). For one who has not properly heard from Srila Prabhupada, he is irresolute and his intelligence many-branched (Bg 2.41). These types of persons can be seen masquerading today with all sorts of wrong ideas and false conceptions about what Srila Prabhupada wanted. This is all the result of not properly hearing from Srila Prabhupada. Their devotional activities do not sprout from the seed of bhakti but from karma, jñāna and yoga.
“One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the ācāryas, and thinking this, one should live in the society of Vaiṣṇavas. However, if one thinks that he has become very mature and can live separate from the association of Vaiṣṇavas and thus gives up all the regulative principles due to offending a Vaiṣṇava, one’s position becomes very dangerous. Offenses against the holy name are explained in Ādi-līlā (Chapter Eight, verse 24). Giving up the regulative principles and living according to one’s whims are compared to a mad elephant, which by force uproots the bhakti-latā and breaks it to pieces. In this way the bhakti-latā shrivels up. Such an offense is especially created when one disobeys the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called guru-avajñā. The devotee must therefore be very careful not to commit offenses against the spiritual master. As soon as one is deviated from the spiritual master, the uprooting of the bhakti-latā begins, and gradually all the leaves dry up.”
If the company of a Vaishnava or one who has heard properly from Srila Prabhupada and is repeating and following his instructions is given up, that is a great offense. Sometimes we see this happening in showbottle ISKCON; So-called mature devotees expel bona fide Vaishnavas from temple properties. That Vaishnava may just be repeating what he has properly heard from Srila Prabhupada, yet he is banned and chastised by the entire so-called mature devotee community. Thus everyone in the community becomes liable in the offense of giving up the association of Vaishnavas.
“While the bhakti-latā creeper is growing, the devotee must protect it by fencing it all around. The neophyte devotee must be protected by being surrounded by pure devotees. In this way he will not give the maddened elephant a chance to uproot his bhakti-latā creeper. When one associates with nondevotees, the maddened elephant is set loose. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said: asat-saṅga-tyāga,-ei vaiṣṇava-ācāra. The first business of a Vaiṣṇava is to give up the company of nondevotees. A so-called mature devotee, however, commits a great offense by giving up the company of pure devotees. The living entity is a social animal, and if one gives up the society of pure devotees, he must associate with nondevotees (asat-saṅga). By contacting nondevotees and engaging in nondevotional activities, a so-called mature devotee will fall victim to the mad elephant offense. Whatever growth has taken place is quickly uprooted by such an offense. One should therefore be very careful to defend the creeper by fencing it in-that is, by following the regulative principles and associating with pure devotees.
If one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master’s instructions and the regulative principles governing chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one’s mental concoctions, one falls down. By associating with nondevotees, one breaks the regulative principles and is thereby lost.”
Neophyte devotees or new comers in the movement must protect their devotional life by associating with Vaishnavas who have properly heard from Srila Prabhupada and are repeating his instructions. Otherwise, what we see happening is these neophytes begin to repeat all of the nonsense philosophy that the so-called mature devotees have whimsically created. In this way the maddened elephant of offenses to Srila Prabhupada is let loose and their activities in association with other so-called mature devotees are not fruitful. One should associate with devotees who have properly heard from Srila Prabhupada and are repeating his instructions.
That this may very well be the case in ISKCON as we know it today is hereby directly foretold by Srila Prabhupada. We can understand what makes a pseudo devotee or nondevotee from the previous purports examined. If the devotees in ISKCON have not properly heard from Srila Prabhupada and are not repeating his instructions (in regard to everything – initiations, management, etc.) this would make them pseudo devotees or nondevotees. In this situation we can keep in direct company with Srila Prabhupada, giving up the company of those nondevotees. And if there is any about this we should consult Srila Prabhupada as we are doing now by scrutinizingly studying his purports on the matter. The best thing for a real disciple of Srila Prabhupada to do in order to alleviate the situation is to continue strictly following Srila Prabhupada’s discipline. Sometimes we see that even persons who understand how ISKCON has deviated begin to concoct in so many ways about what Srila Prabhupada really wanted, although what he really wanted is clearly expressed by him in directives such as the July 9th letter. This is not what Srila Prabhupada meant by keeping in direct company with him and consulting with him if there are any doubts. Consulting with Srila Prabhupada means accepting his clear written directives and instructions to the society and its members, specifically his teachings on how the guru lives through his instructions and is available in that way, and how he is to remain the initiator guru for ISKCON.
“Kuṭīnāṭī, or diplomatic behavior, cannot satisfy the ātmā, the soul. It cannot even satisfy the body or the mind. The culprit mind is always suspicious; therefore our dealings should always be straightforward and approved by Vedic authorities. If we treat people diplomatically or duplicitously, our spiritual advancement is obstructed.”
We can see how the so-called mature devotees in ISKCON today are conducting their affairs in anything but a straightforward manner, and are especially not approved by Vedic authorities. These so-called mature devotees have acted most diplomatically or duplicitously when we look at the history.
“All these obstructions have been described in this verse as unwanted creepers. They simply present obstacles for the real creeper, bhakti-latā-bīja. One should be very careful to avoid all these unwanted things. Sometimes these unwanted creepers look exactly like the bhakti-latā creeper. They appear to be of the same size and the same species when they are packed together with the bhakti-latā creeper, but in spite of this, the creepers are called upaśākhā. A pure devotee can distinguish between the bhakti-latā creeper and a mundane creeper, and he is very alert to distinguish them and keep them separate.”
We should all be very careful in the way we conduct our affairs. Certain business schemes or diplomatic compromises with pseudo devotees may be conducted giving a devotional impression, while such activities may only be hampering our own spiritual lives.
“One may also try to carry out a professional business while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra or reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or one may try to increase his monetary strength by illegal means. One may also try to be a cheap Vaiṣṇava by chanting in a secluded place for material adoration, or one may desire mundane reputation by making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or one may become a supporter of a hereditary caste system. All these are pitfalls of personal sense gratification. Just to cheat some innocent people, one makes a show of advanced spiritual life and becomes known as a sādhu, mahātmā or religious person. All this means that the so-called devotee has become victimized by all these unwanted creepers and that the real creeper of bhakti-latā-bīja has been stunted.”
Srila Prabhupada herein provides us with many examples of the pitfalls of personal sense gratification. We can see these having been existent in the movement to different degrees. Noting back to if one thinks there are nondevotees within the Krsna Consciousness movement, we can see here that one should not make any compromise with them. As soon as we begin to mix with these types of people we are forced to “tone down” on our deepest convictions of what Srila Prabhupada instructed, thus compromising our philosophy and spiritual life. This also applies to supporting unauthorized systems such as the bogus voted-in guru system in place today, with show-bottle sadhus and religious persons accepting worship from neophyte disciples. Devotees who mix with persons who have not heard properly from Srila Prabhupada in a setting where Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are not being repeated, eventually rationalize their position by adhering to misconceptions and avoiding the reality of what is going on. They cover their ears and turn a blind eye on the truth. This is the effect of those who are irresolute in purpose (Bg 2.41) as mentioned in the previous purport. Their intelligence becomes many-branched. Everything becomes very vague and unclear to them. The once simple philosophy of Krsna consciousness is no longer so simple; it is now a grey area. Their sentiment prevails as they resist the call to action, resorting to weak pleas of so-called unity and cooperation under Srila Prabhupada’s movement, minus the instructions of Srila Prabhupada that their pseudo gurus and GBC masters haven’t “approved.” Srila Prabhupada’s clear and simple instructions are now oblique and ambiguous in their eyes and thus they commit offenses at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. As Srila Prabhupada says, these sorts of compromises are all pitfalls to personal sense gratification. This points to the phenomena of the cheaters and the cheated, where the cheated want to be cheated. Only a so-called devotee makes compromises and supports deviant showbottle movements.
“Without accepting a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, one cannot find out the real purpose of devotional service. Therefore one has to accept the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and agree to be directed by him. The first business of a pure devotee is to satisfy his spiritual master, whose only business is to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ: if one can satisfy the spiritual master, Kṛṣṇa is automatically satisfied. This is the success of devotional service.”
The conclusion is to simply accept Srila Prabhupada as the bona fide diksa guru by agreeing to follow his discipline. This is the essence of initiation and the process of diksa, receiving transcendental knowledge. This is what satisfies Srila Prabhupada and Krsna and this is the success.