Vanity thought #560. Giving up on FDG

Recent developments in FDG debate have been very disappointing for me. To the point of giving up on the whole issue altogether – that is I don’t think there’s any merit in it and it only promotes selfish, materialistic aspirations in the guise of service.

What I mean to say is that my storage of benefit of doubt has run dry – I won’t give any to FDG proponents anymore.

There are several reasons for my decision, I can’t be bothered to rank them in order of importance or on the timeline.

So, here’s the list of things I find unacceptable in arguing pro-FDG side:

FDG opponents are openly called misogynistic male Taleban or worse. Proponents do not register that these attitudes do not come from studying Taleban literature but from reading Prabhupada’s books. Devotees who stick to our books and traditions exposed therein are being verbally abused. End of debate for me.

Devotees arguing anti-FDG side are publicly being called ignorant simply because they do not agree to the pro-FDG interpretations of shastric statements.

One well-established devotee website heavily moderates anti-FDG contributions. There could be no mention of feminism in discussing sources of pro-FDG position but comparing anti-FDG to Taleban is accepted.

Another long standing devotee site doesn’t apparently moderate its comments section but pro-FDG views there are interweaved with worst examples of vaishnava aparadha and FDG proponents treat these contributions as perfectly normal and acceptable, reply and comment on them and keep them as part of their overall presentation.

The books and papers arguing pro-FDG stance have shown alarming lack of reason and consistency, cherry picking quotes and arguments, twisting meanings, misrepresenting opinions and excessively relying on emotionally charged labels. At one point they even imply that BBT has corrupted Prabhupada’s original meaning, in another place they argue that Prabhupada’s purports give a snapshot of the ancient world and so are not applicable to our age.

The volume of pro-FDG papers is increasingly expanding while it all stems from only one or two quotes from Prabhupada’s letters and conversations. The debate has become about who speaks louder and longer. It’s not particularly difficult to answer all presented pro-FDG arguments but it would require an inordinate amount of time and effort. Some devotees have taken the challenge but this can’t continue forever.

Despite the piles of paper and bandwidth spent on pro-FDG argument, we are still in the dark about FDG motives – why do they want to give dikshas, why they are not content with being siksha gurus, or how would they conduct their new guru duties? Will they speak with male disciples through the curtain, for example? Will they act like travelling sannyasi gurus? Also, the debate is not about exceptional qualifications of proposed candidates, nor about practicality of it, but about normalcy of FDG itself.

Practically nothing is being said about effects of introducing FDG on our preaching efforts and whatever is said is downplaying possible dangers while extolling possible benefits. I think this should be the most important consideration in the whole debate but it’s being avoided.

Apparently there will be a name proposed for GBC vote this year but it’s all shrouded in secrecy and FDG proponents choose to talk about anything else. I perceive this as disingenuous, it’s like they are sneaking a different agenda from that presented to the public. It’s like all the arguments are presented only so that they can sneak a foot in the door. I’ve seen enough such trickery in local politics – once the objective is achieved there will be a whole new set of proposals and ideas to deal with while the original debate will be all but forgotten. In politics it’s about victory at all costs and I sense the same is happening with FDG issue, too.

Lastly, if FDG was indeed what Krishna wanted there wouldn’t be so much controversy about it and there would be no need to insult devotees who remain cautious about introducing these changes.

4 comments on “Vanity thought #560. Giving up on FDG

  1. An eloquent summary of the situation. It is lamentable that those of us who have spoken up about this for years have been without the benefit of your voice, if not your guidance.

  2. Pingback: Vanity thought #846. Politics | back2krishna

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