Vanity thought #1454. Horrible exes

This past week or so I happened to come across a slew of articles and videos by ex-Hare Kṛṣṇas and that was an eye opening experience I still can’t make heads or tails of. I certainly have opinions about things they say and how they do it but I admit they are quite far out of my mental picture of ex-ISKCON “community”. I don’t understand it but I’ll try.

I won’t give links to everything I saw and read but Youtube channel of this girl is a good place to start. There are comments and links to related websites run by these people and pretty soon you’ll have an earful of worst imagined aparādhas possible. Be warned and prepared if you ever want to check it out for yourself.

I thought I knew plenty of and about ex-ISKCON people but I’ve never expected this, it’s new. Up until now I believed that no Hare Kṛṣṇa would become an actual atheist simply on the strength of experience of the Holy Name, our books, our movement, and Śrīla Prabhupāda. Devotees leave all the time but I thought no one could take Hare Kṛṣṇa out of their lives, save for a few cases of extreme offenses.

Normally, devotees just fade away from public participation in our society and they do it quietly, sort of taking a break from spiritual duties. Personally, I never consider them as ex-devotees, they are just on vacation in my view. There are those whose split in acrimony and they have stories to tell and sometimes I feel sorry about their experiences, sometimes I feel their complaints are overblown and they have share as much blame for the situation as their authorities. It’s still something we can eventually get over with as time heals all wounds.

There are those who leave ISCKON in search of something better. They never stop being Hare Kṛṣṇas and see themselves as devotees, they just don’t want to be associated with ISKCON anymore. I think, and I would argue, that their decisions are foolish but they are still devotees, still the family, and at the end of every dispute we can always find something common, like the unquestionable superiority of the service to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

There are those who have become extremely offensive in their anti-ISKCON rhetoric and it cost them their place in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava family altogether. They went on to become śaivas or śaktas or yogīs or Buddhists. But not atheists.

There are those who found Christ, too. They can be very very nasty towards ISKCON, Śrīla Prabhupāda, and Hinduism in general, but they are still not atheists. The ones I’ve interacted with still talk a lot more about Kṛṣṇa and what’s going on in ISKCON than about their newly found religion and I find it very telling but as long as they encourage others to surrender to God and accept Him in their hearts it’s not really that bad. I can’t find anything in common with them anymore but everyone has a place in Lord’s service, their choice is okay by me.

And then there’s this bunch, extremely hateful, determined in their attempts to discredit us and everything we stand for, and I’m not sure how to relate to them properly.

The girl I linked to earlier was born into a devotee family and her first video about her experiences was actually fairly neutral but the latest ones are simply inexcusable. She is not simply going after ISKCON anymore, she specifically targets Śrīla Prabhupāda, and if that wasn’t enough she got into ridiculing Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and she didn’t spare Lord Nityānanda either.

And this after being a devotee for twenty four years?

There’s another woman there who joined in the late 80s and left twenty years later and she isn’t as bad but equally determined to destroy our “cult” to the best of her abilities. She actually attends conferences by anti-cult groups and tries to be active in the movement I thought died long time ago. Seriously, someone still wants to outlaw ISKCON for being a cult? In the UK where hundreds of thousands of Indians come to our temples?

This activism hasn’t gone unnoticed and if you find a video with comments enabled someone always comes along and notices that the authors sound far more dangerous in their bigotry than the alleged cult they are fighting against.

How ridiculous can it get? There was a bit about our daily routine, for example, how devotees wake up early in the morning, attend the morning program, chant japa and listen to a Bhāgavatam lecture. Totally cult-like behavior, unbelievable that it’s allowed in this day and age. Maybe she should look at people’s routine in Buddhists temples where they wake up just as early, don’t sing and dance, only pray, meditate and study, and don’t eat food after 12 PM. Maybe she should check out Christian monasteries, too. Or how about Muslims who have their call to prayer blasted over speakers in the “ungodly” hour for everyone within hearing distance, not only for monks (there are no monks in Islam at all, btw).

For self-proclaimed experts on Hinduism who know spirituality better than Hare Kṛṣṇas they can leave pearls like this “by 7AM deites have been bathed and dressed in a new set of clothes, and I’m talking about brass dolls not even one foot tall – imagine that, how weird!” – I’m paraphrasing.

There’s one long rant about boys and girls separated at school from the age of nine or ten – who does that? Middle ages. There’s no such thing as all-girls or all-boys schools anywhere in the civilized world. Oh wait…

In fact, I’m thinking about taking one of these videos and addressing all their allegations against us point by point, how they twist and exaggerate and declare absolutely normal things weird and unacceptable, like Prabhupāda’s comparison of men with butter that always melts in presence of fire, or women in this analogy. Yeah, that never happens, where did Prabhupāda see that? Where is his proof? Where is his logic?

While girls do the talking on Youtube and roll their eyes trying to be cute, men try to provide arguments and facts to support their case (no gender stereotypes among these enlightened beings, right?) This is where it all gets disappointing as they use old bad arguments that have been floating around since forever and are never taken seriously. Most of our devotees would go like “wait, what”?

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī had never actually been initiated by Śrīla Gaurakiśora Dāsa Bābājī. Been there, discussed that, this has been around for at least half a century and it originated with Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s brother. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura rejected his initiating guru – same source. Madhvas do not accept Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism as part of their sampradāya (except the do, save for some outliers’ opinions). This same hogwash is being recycled again and again, as started by ex-ISCKON devotees like Nitai and Jagat and later picked up by Madhavānanda.

I don’t know what Nitai is up to now, Mādhavānanda left his followers, the “real” Gauḍīyas, and went into Buddhism, and Jagat is/was a full blown sahajiyā, trying to find truth about Lord Caitanya through ritual sex, which was after he tried achieve same realization through smoking ganja. Lately he’s been into silent yoga, I think. Nitai and Jagat are still technically devotees, however, even though Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta didn’t count sahajiyās as vaiṣṇavas, but their new brand of followers are even more Catholic than these two Popes. Actually, Jagat comes across as quite a humble fellow, maybe misguided by ISKCON standards but still sincere in his devotion to Śrīla Prabhupāda and his search for the truth, and for that he deserves eternal respect, plus we shouldn’t criticize Prabhupāda’s disciples anyway no matter what they do.

And that’s why I don’t really know how to react to Jagat’s “work” inspiring this new generation of ex-Hare Kṛṣṇas to turn to full blown atheism. Who is going to bear responsibility for that? And if their source is beyond reproach, should I take their offenses seriously? Or is it just pent up rage being let out and they don’t really mean what they say, it’s just hormones talking?

I need some time to come to terms with this.

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16 comments on “Vanity thought #1454. Horrible exes

  1. Firstly, if you’re a man and a woman says ‘this is my experience’ you say ‘Oh, I didn’t know, and I can never know what it’s like to be you, so I will listen and learn.’ You don’t say ‘I am a man and I know better what it’s like to be a woman’. Well, clearly *you* do, but oh look, we can expect to be treated well now. We don’t need to deal with people like you in the name of ‘spiritual life’ anymore.

    Secondly, if you’re going to talk about us, why not put your name and face to it, like we do? Go on. I’m sure you will find it very interesting.

    • I’ve read your story with interest, “listened and learned”, and if you ever get to write part 2 I’d probably read that, too. In case of that other girl, I’ve watched half a dozen of her videos and I don’t think I’ve missed anything essential to her story.

      Why do you want to know my name? What are you going to do with it? Google me and make it a personal issue with you bringing up anecdotes from my past and present and me trying to defend myself? I’m trying to avoid stooping to this kind of monkey throwing feces behavior, so the answer is no. I would rather encourage you to transcend talking about events and people and discuss ideas instead.

    • I liked your videos a lot. It is very difficult and rare to actually reject the entirety of the Krishna philosophy.
      I was born and raised in it under disciples of Siddhaswarupananda and I am proud to say I “threw the baby Krishna out with the bathwater” as opposed to just objecting to the particular group and guru but holding on to holy Srila Prabhupada and his philosophy.

      To the blog author:

      I am not an Atheist but I fully reject every man made ridiculous religion. None can ever approach doing any justice to the true reality of the universe. That is for us to discover on our own and it totally unique person to person. I connect directly to “God” as religious people conceive it. I think in metaphysical and multidimensional concepts and recognize the hand of synchronicity guiding events behind the scenes.
      I identify as being eternal and as having a mission and purpose in life.

      But unlike fanatical religious people I know I can never be sure about certain things from my perspective, but that is okay. My ideas are re analyzed, morphed, discarded and revisited.

      I might be a horrible EX and I might have happily abandoned the entire Krishna belief system but an Atheist I am not.
      I resonate with the sentiment and intentions of J. Krishnamurti total disavowel of gurus and belief systems. The truth is a pathless land.
      To me this means that despite the best intentions and no matter you fully discovered the true path to enlightenment, the very fact that you lay it down for others to follow you means they will never get that enlightenment because they did not do it themselves. They did not discover it for themselves, they just believed in you and lost it all right there.

      • What you describe sounds like Neo-Advaita and, perhaps, you would benefit from reading this about it.

        Oh, and Anke doesn’t post any videos, afaik, there’s only one poem, a letter to her guru.

      • Hi Rama, in case you didn’t see the reply from the wonderful Steven Gelberg in the comments (you might not have been notified), do have a look below.

        I wanted to reply to you as well, first of all to thank you for your nice comment on my videos, but more importantly, I’ve heard from a mutual friend about the things you’ve been through in the name of having a ‘spiritual’ upbringing. What a story you have to tell. I very much agree with Steven, do keep writing. Also, please put yourself and your well-being first, for once. Yes it is important to get the word out about terrible things that happened and that keep happening, but we have to look after ourselves, otherwise there won’t be anyone to talk about them. This is not another mission that is more important than you.

        You have good friends. *hugs*

      • Hi Ankee! Great to hear from you, thank you for your advice I will take it on. Thanks again for your great work. I liked your love poem to your guru as I think it highlights the true nature of that relationship we are supposed to take on with the guru. Easier to express and acknowledge as a woman who has natural attraction to a man. I think this romantic relationship is exactly what all these macho homophobic Hare Krishna men are also doing but it is not acknowledged consciously.
        This an extra level of cognitive dissonance as they are extremely homophobic on the conscious level. big hug back!

      • Now you are just speaking for the degraded “culture” where every relationship must be driven by sex.Not everyone sees the world through sex colored glasses, imagine that.

  2. I am an ex HK devotee too. Things changed completely for me when I realized that the absolute following of the founder was not only absurd but it is also self defeating. ISKCON is at best a rudderless, parochial personality cult. It is just another silly sectarian religion. Add to that, it’s archaic, dogmatic and social paradigm, which is definitely misogynistic to the core. I am simply amazed it too me so long to come to see it’s true nature. It is a useless addition to a society already overburdened by mad fanatics

    • I realized that the absolute following of the founder was not only absurd but it is also self defeating.

      What if your realization is wrong or, at best, incomplete? Shouldn’t you wait until you realize some more before going public with your offensive attitude? The mere fact that it leads you to attacking others is a good sign that you are on the wrong path. Your sustained hatred of all things ISKCON might be an expression of outrage over something you can no longer have, ie another side of the love coin.

      Terms like “archaic social paradigm” are relative, not absolute. What if it’s your social paradigm that is a freak of nature and will not survive evolution and natural selection? Atheists do not breed, we can just wait until they naturally die out, and that is if global warming doesn’t get them first. They’ve built an unsustainable civilization that creates more problems than it solves and they don’t have the power to stop themselves from self-destructing. The smartest among them have figured it out and see it as a much bigger problem than religion bashing.

    • “… where every relationship must be driven by sex.”

      Now there’s a good example of simple indoctrination. Ignore the vast array of different sorts of people in this world, with different mentalities, different personalities, different life situations, and so on, and make a sweeping, absolute generalization about them: All Human Relationships Are Based On Sex. Don’t you see how utterly and laughably stupid that is? Someone told you, and you automatically believed them, that all human relationships, by definition, are motivated by sexual compulsion, and therefore there is nothing good or noble or admirable about anyone other than a member of your sect. “They” are all simply running around having animal sex, those disgusting ignorant fools. You base your observations on humankind on a cartoon-simple notion placed in your head by someone you imagine to be infinitely wise and you don’t bother to give it another genuine thought. Can’t you see how narrow (and predetermined) your thought processes have become? I have to say, Mr. back2Krishna, that in general you sound reasonably intelligent, yet you’ve settled for a mindset that has you say things that sound incredibly dimwitted, simplistic and outrageous to anyone but another person indoctrinated according to the same formulas as you were. Just give it some thought. You can come back with an clever response if you wish, but do also give it a bit of thought. I promise it won’t hurt your brain to do so.

      • It’s not me who suggested that guru-disciple relationships are homosexual in nature so I don’t know why are you targeting me and not Rama Ranson.

        And you need to tone down your language and read the stuff you are commenting on first, otherwise you are just spouting garbage.

    • Hi Martin, any idea if this blogger is the elusive “P.A.M.H.O.” Or Vraja D? The person I refer to has multiple online identities and multiple assumed genders. Pam Ho on Facebook.

  3. Rama, your brief manifesto (above) regarding organic spirituality vs. corporate religion is brilliant, beautiful, and full of truth. You certainly spoke eloquently for me, and I’m sure for many others who’ve been on the receiving end of absolutist thinking and totalitarian regimentation. Keep speaking and writing – you have a gift.

    • It should look “full of truth” to those who cut themselves off Lord’s mercy coming through the devotees, but it can’t replace it and so we’d go “meh”. People can rant all they want over what they can no longer have. Their diminished spiritual experience is not that attractive and draws valid criticism even from within the tradition it seeks to align itself with – see the link I gave to Rama.

      And I hope you don’t mean Rama should keep writing as in writing comments on my blog.

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