Vanity thought #423. Deeply disturbing divergence

Thanks to that god awful Sampradaya Sun website I got a story in my head that I needed to check out, one thing led to another and now I have it – I watched a deeply disturbing video that I just can’t “unsee”.

If it was simply shocking I could easily forget it but it’s not shocking per se, it just that the more I think about it the more disturbed I become. It shows a side of some of our leading devotees that I never knew was there and this side is, frankly, unacceptable. Unacceptable on so many fundamental levels that I will never see those devotees in the same way again – “Ah, he was in THAT video!..”

It’s a promotional video for one our famous projects I’ve heard so much praise about by outstanding devotees of unquestionable character and devotion to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON, yet it undermines everything I really care about in our society. If it was a one off occasion it could have been explained, circumstances sometimes dictate us to do things we are not proud about, but this is a promo, a carefully staged performance that looks quite professional, too.

It carries the name “Bhaktivedanta” in the title but it is an affront to Srila Prabhupada and everything he stood for. It doesn’t even mention who “Bhaktivedanta” is or was, not showing even a single picture of a man it attaches itself to, and that’s just the beginning.

For a Vrindavana hospice that intends to help people transition into the next life it never shows a single picture of Krishna, never mentions the name of Krishna, not even once. Our leading sanyasi and guru who is leading this project doesn’t wear a tilaka and is unidentifiable as an ISKCON devotee, or a vaishnava at all, and to top it off – he lets a mayavadi singer perform kirtan at the bedside of a dying man!

It wasn’t a month ago when I read stories about Srila Prabhupada insisting on strict standards for our kirtans, listening to the singing in the temple room during arati from very far away, sometimes from his room several stories above. Prabhupada never hesitated to send a servant and stop the kirtan if someone inserted something tainted with apa sampradayas, like “bhaje” sang in front of Hare Krishna mantra or singing “Jaya gurudeva”. Never mind who was leading the kirtan or how engaged and ecstatic devotees were, he wanted to correct it right away.

Letting a mayavadi, a follower of Osho Rajnesh, in this case, to sing kirtan to dying people in the hospice carrying his name is like stabbing knife in Prabhupada’s heart. Is this what he established ISKCON for? To let mayavadis take over our kirtans? At the time of someone’s death?

I was always wondering why this famous sannyasi and ISKCON guru occasionally adds quotes by Dalai Lama that appear in my twitter feed, but that is peanuts comparing to what is happening in this video.

As I said, the more I think about the worse it becomes. It transcends transgressions by one man and questions the role of GBC in protecting the spirit of our movement, complacency of all the followers and disciples of that guru who, I think, are counted in thousands now. I know many of them personally but I’m afraid to raise this subject in their presence, maybe a little later when I somewhat calm down.

Overall, there’s this divergence between our mission that we take in our hearts and the actions of a very popular figure in our movement, and it’s deeply disturbing.

Why, why do they stick Prabhupada’s name on their spiritually sick and revolting enterprise? It’s one thing if mayavadis do whatever they do, but it’s a million times worse when Prabhupada’s followers engage in the same thing. Haven’t they/we learnt anything about how painful mayavada was to our acharyas and Lord Chaitanya Himself?

Why do they do this to Gaudiya vaishnavism?

You can watch the video here. I’m not going to embed this blasphemy of Prabhupada’s memory in this blog.

I’m late to the “party”, it was put up over a year ago and, apparently, no one in ISKCON have done anything about it. Makes me wonder even more what exactly is going on. There is one sannyasi and guru who has spoken against it but, as “rumor has it”, he is now prohibited from speaking at some our temples.

God, I should have never read that Sampradaya Sun, my life was relatively peaceful before that. Now I see conspiracies and failures everywhere.

10 comments on “Vanity thought #423. Deeply disturbing divergence

  1. painful but not something should not be discussed for improving seva to Srila Prabhupad’s mission.

    Please write to me on my personal email about your heart felt suggestions as I am founder member of Bhaktivedanta Hospital / Hospice & can bring a change in any wrong happening in these projects. I am confident that devotees involved are open for healthy criticism & ready to correct their services.

    vaishnava dealings are based on guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati……..

  2. It’s time for explanations, not for suggestions. How could they allow a mayavadi sing kirtan in a place bearing Prabhupada’s name? Why not once did they mention or show Krishna?

    This is simply unbelievable, it goes against everything Srila Prabhupada has taught us, following the footsteps of our acharyas and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

    Who are these people and what is their philosophical position? Is it a mistake born of ignorance, negligence, or desire to attract mundane fame and glory?

    Once we know an answer to this we might contemplate what should be done next.

    It’s also a very hot potato politically, there are some really big names involved and shown in a negative way. If they make mistakes it’s not my place to correct them, it’s responsibility of their authorities.

    Ultimately, Krishna has allowed this to happen, now it’s time for us to draw appropriate lessons for ourselves, not rush in and try to “improve” everything.

  3. but you said in Thought # 384

    “HH Radhanath Swami meeting with presidents and Prime Ministers. I think that this is the path to perfection – with everybody throwing rose petals.”

    He did not go to meet president with Krishna picture nor he told president that he is servant of Prabhupada.

    The mayavadi Rajnish follower was Not invited to send the dying man back to Godhead. Infact he left his body in braj after many months when sincere followers of Prabhupada were chanting at his bedside.

    Do you want us to to put a scanner on Hospice door to stop entry for mayavadis even if they come in genuine appreciative mood?

    The promo is meant for outside world where no one has any clue of Prabhupad’s contribution & will come to Prabhupad only after getting attracted to work of Sincere followers of Gaudiya Acharyas presented in a interesting style.
    Here the style is different but substance is exactly same as Prabhupada has given….

  4. “I think that this is the path to perfection – with everybody throwing rose petals.” – in the second half of that post I argue against this expectation.

    “He did not go to meet president with Krishna picture nor he told president that he is servant of Prabhupada.” – really? Everyone in ISKCON assumed that he did and used this meeting as a preaching opportunity, following Lord Chaitanya instructions – yare dekha tare kaha Krishna upadesh. If he didn’t it becomes even more disturbing, it’s unthinkable – just look at all devotees reactions to the news of that meeting on every ISKCON website, no one even entertains the possibility that he didn’t say a word about Krisha at that meeting.

    Mayavadi Rajneesh follower Deva Premal was filmed singing at the bedside in a group that included Radhanatha Swami, she is even introduced in the caption to the video, see at 7:28. How can you say she was not invited???

    “The promo is meant for outside world where no one has any clue of Prabhupad’s contribution & will come to Prabhupad only after getting attracted to work of Sincere followers of Gaudiya Acharyas presented in a interesting style.” – this is not how Srila Prabhupada taught us to preach, this is not how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati taught us to preach, this is not how Krishna Consciousness become spread all over the world.

    • US President did not invite a ISKCON Guru but an american citizen respected all over India as exemplary follower of Indian faith. No public boasting was done by Radhanath Swami about President’s meet nor we were told details about their talks.

      same with Deva Premal & other visitors ( non Iskcon) to our seva projects…

      this is following – yare dekha tare kaha Krishna upadeshYa. in our understanding

      May be this is the reason why I am requesting you to write your commentary on Bhagavat arka marichi mala. So that I am benefited by another view on Bhaktivinod’s writings. in todays situation.

      I will certainly see that such promos ( which are not appreciated by sincere vaishnavas) will not be made in future.

      But what I do Not agree is H.H. Radhanath Swami has a desire to attract mundane fame and glory.

      I have personally checked on it for N number of times in last 25 years. In fact when I wanted to promote him on indian national television, he inspired me to put Prabhupada’s Mission.on broadcast & preferred to take a back seat.

  5. “US President did not invite a ISKCON Guru but an american citizen respected all over India as exemplary follower of Indian faith.” – so he didn’t meet the president as a devotee but as a respected American? This would explain why he wasn’t wearing his sannyasi clothes and tilaka, and why he didn’t give the president Bhagavad Gita.

    “No public boasting was done by Radhanath Swami about President’s meet nor we were told details about their talks.” – well, it was reported on all major vaishnava news sites a few days after it first appeared on Radhanatha Swami’s own site which was the only source for everyone else.

    “same with Deva Premal & other visitors ( non Iskcon) to our seva projects…” – I don’t understand how it’s the same. She was invited to take part in a promotional video, it’s not the same as simply visiting the facility and it’s not the same as being invited to shake president’s hand. Srila Prabhupada would have never allowed her to sing in his presence let alone use her to promote his projects. It should not be done in his name – it’s “Bhaktivedanta” hospice, after all.

    “this is following – yare dekha tare kaha Krishna upadeshYa. in our understanding” – Srila Prabhupada gave this translation for Krishna upadesa – “kṛṣṇa-upadeśa — the instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā as it is spoken by the Lord or of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which advises one to worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa;” It appears that this is not what happened during the meeting with the president, at least in public. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna says that whatever famous men do, others will follow. In this case the public has no example to follow – there was no preaching and no example of US president meeting a devotee and listening to Krishna’s message.

    “But what I do Not agree is H.H. Radhanath Swami has a desire to attract mundane fame and glory.” – this is a great quality and I do not wish to comment on it one way or another. I’ll just say that the only quality we should be seeking is the desire to please Guru and Gauranga. Without strictly following the footsteps of our acharyas all good qualities have no value. If we have a choice between imperfect service and good qualities, we should always choose devotional service.

    “May be this is the reason why I am requesting you to write your commentary on Bhagavat arka marichi mala.” – I’m not qualified to do that, it would be like starting my own school. Srila Prabhupada’s books and teachings of his sincere followers already have all commentaries we might need. At most we could hope to complement them, not start our own. This blog is the best I can do at the moment.

    • This blog is the best I can do at the moment……

      ofcourse.. this blog is best but what I am getting out of it is more & more expectations for further nectar directly from shastra.
      When I came across this blog first time , I was excited to have intellectual spiritual association without arguing on matters of ISKCON happenings..

      I do not want to give up on my request for writings complementing Acharyas literature. No way it is starting your own school.

      most of the sincere devotees can not express their feelings in appropriate English words. I am also in the same group.
      So , when much is given to you, expectations are also more.

      I do not have much taste in matters about others efforts in service to Guru & Gauranga but I am enlivened if I see positive results in preaching. I try to stay aloof when obvious shortcomings are seen & afraid of spoiling my enthusiasm in devotional service.

      I do not know you in person & its all possible that you may be Radhanath Swami’s closest friend. I tried defending His case for my own purification because it is He who has inspired me to serve Srila Prabhupada & mission of Lord Gauranga.

      Please start a blog specially for discussion on Hari katha independent of institutional
      boundries.

  6. As you can see this article is titled “deeply disturbing”.

    I/we have no direct access to shastra but only through the medium of other devotees, and HH Radhanatha Swami has always been one of the best sources of transcendental knowledge. It gave me no pleasure whatsoever to see him in that video and, unfortunately, it is going to have an effect on me listening to his lectures in the future, not until he somehow clarifies the matter.

    Right now I have no idea if he thinks it was a mistake or if he thinks it was perfectly okay. If a devotee knows he has made a mistake we all should overlook it and never mention it again, but if he insists that there’s nothing wrong with letting mayavadi sing kirtan in Bhaktivedanta hospice then I cannot trust him to transparently represent Srila Prabhupada.

    I didn’t mention any names, you “outed” Radhanatha Swami youself, there are other devotees who gave me material for this article and made me pause and think whether they are properly passing down the teachings of parampara or not.

    We cannot accept distorted teachings simply for the sake of institutional peace. We cannot judge senior devotees either, so it’s like being caught between the rock and the hard place.

    • I fully agree about mayavadis not leading kirtana in Srila Prabhpad’s projects.
      Recently Radhanath Swami is preaching personally in yoga goups etc.& we are seeing more of such shady personalities visiting our projects. I will put forward devotee’s concern about mayavadis to project authorities to avoid such mishaps in future.

      Thanks for replying my comments with open heart..

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