Vanity thought #1599. Ghostbusters

I hear they are doing a remake of that goofy 80s movie. I don’t understand what people found in it back then, apart from an annoyingly catchy song, and I don’t understand why are they resurrecting it now. I don’t understand movies at all. It used to be considered an art form but now the term “industry” is far more appropriate. The original idea was to inspire people, to elevate their consciousness, pretty much like books but more impressive. “Industry”, otoh, doesn’t inspire anything, it only makes profits and pollutes the environment, in this case mental environment. I mean they have untold number of remakes of Spiderman and Superman and Batman and all possible superheroes. Or they do superhero robots. According to press, the biggest movie of all time is going to be the latest Star Wars, which is the seventh installment in the series. Talking about chewing the chewed – how many Chewies one can take?

I wasn’t going to talk about movies, though. A Buddhist guy I know recently told me about his interesting experience while meditating. He does that “sit quietly and try not to fall asleep” thing and on rare occasions he succeeds. This time it was all going as usual – the mind was filled with all kinds of thoughts and worries, then it got tired and emptied itself out, and my friend was just about to fall asleep when suddenly he had a vision of a ghost. It was a child with blood flowing down his face, quite scary. He talked about it as a matter-offact and his fellow Buddhists weren’t surprised at all. Now it was my turn to offer Kṛṣṇa conscious perspective but I managed to decline and change the subject.

This whole ghost thing is just nonsense. We should be real ghostbusters here and destroy people’s illusions of spirituality. Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to criticize other people’s spiritual endeavors. They are doing their thing as arranged for them by God and we should leave them alone. If they are ready Kṛṣṇa would encourage them from within and if He doesn’t do that then it’s His plan.

What we should always keep in mind is that most religious people ARE guided by God, they are not on their own, and so we should be very careful trying to convert them because it would mean we claim to know better that God Himself. If we are honest with ourselves we should know that we have no clue what is better for us and we should leave it to Kṛṣṇa. How can we claim to manage other people’s spiritual life better than Him when we can’t even manage our own? It’s delusional.

If we do want to offer advice we should do so only if we see people’s connection with Kṛṣṇa. They know what this connection is even if they can’t express it in words and they will appreciate our sincere efforts even if we come from a completely different tradition. If we don’t see this connection then we better stick to the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda not to disturb fellow religious people and do not say more than necessary – we are souls different from bodies etc.

Still, this whole ghost thing is nonsense. There might be some spiritual benefits in Buddhist mediation and seeing “ghosts” might lead to eventual realization that it’s all crap but for now it’s mostly a distraction. Worse than that, it’s ersatz spirituality, a poor substitute of a real thing.

God cannot be perceived with material senses, including mind and imagination. Whatever they think they are seeing is not God. As we know from our books, the subtle plane in this universe has unimaginable diversity, unimaginable population, unimaginable opulence, and it manifests unimaginable powers. If we want to know it all before we proceed towards Kṛṣṇa we’ll be stuck there forever, lifetime after lifetime, and we still won’t see the end to universe’s wonders. That’s why I say it’s a distraction.

On the other hand, if the interest is there it must be satisfied, there’s no way people can defeat their curiosity by sitting still and not trying to fall asleep, so some indulgence is necessary. Perhaps they need to sample just a little part of that world and they would leave it alone. It’s like trying sea-water – the ocean is big but one sip is all you need to know its taste. Judging by people’s interest in smartphones, apps, and mobile internet in general, one sip is not going to be enough, though.

It becomes really dangerous when people decide that seeing ghosts and other “wonderful” things is a truly spiritual experience and there’s little more to spirituality than that, and it’s even worse with various “Hindus” on the internet. Somehow they feel entitled to speak as insiders and feel no shame in proclaiming their often ridiculous views as the real thing. I mean if they are not in their temples but sit in front of their computers they are not practicing their sādhana, whatever it might be.

They can’t meditate, can’t do tapasyā, and instead of a temple they go on the internet. After checking everything that’s available there they realize they know something westerners don’t and start behaving as experts. Their neophyte views won’t fly among real practitioners but westerners will gobble up everything, they are an easy prey and there’s an added bonus in that sweet feeling of being admired by white men. Usually, Indians go to the West to learn and to serve so it’s understandable that if there’s one thing they can see themselves as superior at they are going to exploit it to the hilt.

There’s also a large group of western practitioners, usually neo-advaitins but there are many ex-ISKCON people there, too. They volunteer to serve as a bridge between Indian esoterics and western gross materialism and take positions of gurus, dishing out “knowledge” by a shovel. Some want to be different from a pack and seek various niches but it’s all done in pursuit of one’s ego, there’s not a hint of true spiritual knowledge there.

We don’t even need to criticize their ersatz spirituality ourselves, neo-advaita is ridiculed by senior “advaitins” just fine and it should matter more to them them then anything coming out of our mouths. Actually, to qualify oneself for trying real advaita one needs to spend about a decade in apprenticeship leading far more austere lives then our brahmacārīs. We prepare ours for grhastha life, they prepare theirs for sannyāsa, and taking up sannyāsa is only the beginning of jñāna yoga. I don’t know of any westerners accepted as disciples in actual Śaṅkara sampradāya, they are just clowns completely ensnared by their minds and egos.

Ex-ISKCON devotees consciously cut themselves off spiritual knowledge so there can’t be anything real there by definition, just studying texts or sickly sweet sentimentality.

Spiritual knowledge manifests itself in a person’s heart as a result of selfless service to his guru. Nominally, most of these people do have gurus and as much as they serve them selflessly they can make progress. If we see that we can acknowledge it but they also pile tons of garbage on that small spark of opportunity so chances that it would develop into anything serious are very slim.

So, garbage is garbage, spark is spark, we should know both, dismiss one and try to fan the other. Unfortunately, people are pigs these days and feed mostly on garbage, quite often it’s a lost cause.

Vanity thought #1597. Same web for everyone

Yesterday I wrote about our lines of authority and ended talking about devotees taking shelter of particular manifestations of this authority, I mean Supreme Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, who appears to us in many forms. That part probably needs a little expanding on.

Typically, we are very radical in our movement, it’s our way of highway, and I support this orthodoxy one hundred percent but we should remember the bigger picture, too. We absolutely must submit ourselves to GBC and its local representatives but that’s because we want a place in Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya’s service. We won’t get there any other way. There are other people, however, who would gladly settle for something more modest and for them there are less demanding provisions. Today I want to talk about them.

If you ask people they’d never say they settle for something small. We would never say we are going after nothing less than a happy life in Vṛndāvana either. The reality is, however, somewhat different and deep within our hearts we know it. If we cut through the sweet talk for the general population Śrīla Prabhupāda’s goals for us were quite demanding. We are supposed to preach non stop every second our lives and we don’t have any other purpose. We often heard the saying “work now, samādhi later” but in reality even that is a cop out.

We do not aim for “samādhi”, we do not aim for comfortable life amidst desire trees, we aim only for the service to the lotus feet of our guru. It might not be very pleasing to us personally but it’s what impresses Kṛṣṇa the most and Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure the only thing we should care about in our spiritual lives.

Not long ago I heard a class where a devotee was reading from one of the books by Sanātana Gosvāmī and there was a story there how Kṛṣṇa often, more often than we expect, asks a newly returned devotee to go back and preach in the material world. I don’t know what to make of it. It sounds a bit cruel and uncaring on His part but that’s what He likes, and He asks us, by that time “formerly conditioned souls”, to go and do this service on His behalf because we know the place better than anyone else. Sanātana Gosvāmī didn’t say how often people refuse, which is understandable, or at least hesitate long enough to indicate they’d rather not, but the assumption is that we are supposed to take these assignments without a blink and with full enthusiasm.

That’s our line of rūpanugas, we are servants of the servants of the servants and we do not seek our own little sweet spot in Kṛṣṇa’s entourage. We take up service no one else is taking and we don’t expect anything in return.

It is very hard to accept this attitude with an open heart, it requires complete purity, but we know it’s what is demanded of us, if we are up to it. Nowadays even the intellectual understanding might not be so widespread anymore but the demand for this service is there and to satisfy it we need to be one hundred percent dedicated to Śrīla Prabhupāda and the mission he left for us, GBC, presidents, the whole institution. We are servants of everyone and we should not dare to criticize anyone, not even the littlest, clumsiest of wannabe bhaktas. We are their servants, too.

People who are not ready for this kind of commitment still need a place in ISKCON and for them demands are more relaxed. They can seek shelter in a wide circle of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s net. They can, for example, be faithful to him in their own way but not be on good terms with GBC. Or they can be faithful to GBC as an idea but not to some particular policies. Or they could be faithful to their local ISKCON chapter but not their temple president.

For us there might not be spiritual world outside of Śrīla Prabhupāda but actually there is, he never claimed to be one and only true representative for all eternity, that’s from another religion. For us, however, going around Prabhupāda would be offensive, we don’t really have a choice. Still the world is out there and it’s ready to provide shelter to those who seek it.

As far as I can see, there’s not much spirituality left outside of our movement, devotees in other sampradāyas don’t get Kṛṣṇa premā without taking shelter of Lord Caitanya so their progress is limited to Vaikuṇṭhas, which isn’t very much comparing to possibilities offered to us. There are Gauḍiyā vaiṣṇavas outside of ISKCON, too, but they have discredited themselves by not supporting Prabhupāda when they had a chance and so their prospects aren’t bright either. Maybe some other day I’ll write about Prabhupāda’s attitude towards them. However crippled, they are still devotees and if one seeks their shelter he would still be protected by Kṛṣṇa, still guided by Him, they will never be rejected no matter what they do or say. We should also remember that those who rejected Śrīla Prabhupāda will never get the same opportunities as the original members, which isn’t much in the first place.

Hinduism, however is bigger than vaiṣṇavism and allows for gradual spiritual progress to all kinds of people. One time Śrīla Prabhupāda said that worshipers of Durgā are better than Christians because they follow the Vedic way which guarantees eventual success while those who call themselves Christians are on their own, no one can guarantee anything there.

Perhaps the biggest Hindu school is advaita these days and it manifests in the form of pañcopāsāna, worshiping the five principal deities. Externally it looks very much like vaiṣṇavism because Viṣṇu is also there but conceptually it’s impersonalism. Most people can’t be bothered with learning the difference and they will never miss a chance to worship a deity so pañcopāsāna flourishes.

As followers of Lord Caitanya and Śrīla Prabhupāda we do not like impersonalism one bit but it’s a legitimate realization of the Absolute Truth, albeit an incomplete one, and no one actually realizes it these days. Still the attempt is there and it also counts.

We often say that slaughtering goats for Kali is Kṛṣṇa’s concession to those who can’t live without meat but so is impersonalism. Advaita might be a misleading path and it might be meant to trick people into atheism but it was sill given by Lord Śiva in the form of Śaṅkarācārya and so is Vedic and eventually purifying. I mean if people want to be atheists it’s better for them to be Vedic atheists. They aren’t a pleasant company but they are still taking shelter of the Vedas.

My point is that we might not think much of all these non-vaiṣṇavas or non-ISKCON vaiṣṇavas, or ex-ISKCON vaiṣṇavas, and all kinds of apa-sampradāyas, but they are still taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, or Śiva, or Durgā, and we should have nothing but respect for that. Kṛṣṇa’s net is very very wide and everyone caught in it safe, if not in this lifetime then in the next.

In the bigger scheme of things they do not deserve condemnation, we only allow it when we talk about our narrow, single-minded objective and only when we talk with similarly minded devotees. It’s not a talk for outsiders and we should be careful not to appear as sectarian and argumentative. We have our own thing and it’s big enough to attract everybody without the need to put anyone else down.

Vanity thought #1265. PK cont’d

Yesterday I questioned the qualifications of the emerging Indian middle class to pass judgment on religions that existed for thousands of years. To me it appears they do it with adolescent impudence, just because they had a few years of a good run. That aside, is their criticism justified in any way?

Whenever religion comes under attack I, due to my current misidentification, take the side of the faithful, infidels be damned. I should probably think first, though, and make my decisions with a cool head, free from attachment induced emotions.

Truth is, these Indians are saying things we should have been saying ourselves. Whether due to ignorance, lucky coincidence, or unexpected insight, they chose to expose corruption where we should have been exposing it ourselves. Śrīla Prabhupāda did it, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī did it, but we have dropped the ball.

We embraced Hinduism, sometimes for mercantile, sometimes for political reasons, and this association does not come free. We now must treat fellow misbehaving Hindus as a family, which means put them above any criticism.

PK has given us a long list of grievances against modern Hinduism, some exposed by the protagonist but many more exposed by twittering public. They’ve started a TV campaign for people to observe their local religionists, film them on their phones, and then send examples of cheating to the studio. They called it “wrong number” campaign, implying that when religious fraudsters speak on behalf of God they dial a wrong number to connect to him.

PK first meeting with Bhagavan was at a temple market where he saw several mūrtis in different sizes and at different prices. The man who sells them fails to properly explain to PK deity’s transcendental nature and how he should relate to it. His friend joined in and told PK that small deities are meant for small tasks and if he wants his lost remote beacon back he should go to the big deity in the temple because bigger deity has longer legs to catch the thief.

PK then goes to the temple and offers pūja in front of the big deity but is being pushed away before he gets the results. In crowded temples people get at most 10 seconds for praying and must move on to make space for the next in line. In some temples longer darśana is possible if one makes a generous donation. I’m not saying we should necessarily speak up against such practices but, besides practical considerations, they are born of neglecting proper pañcarātrika vidhi.

Instead of an authorized pūjarī everyone is encouraged to offer their own stuff, which they buy from temple merchants. Whether the deity would accept such offerings from unqualified and most likely grossly contaminated persons is not considered at all. As long as people spend money it’s all good.

The guy who sold PK the small mūrti got caught out on trying to explain why people need deities at all. He said that Bhagavan doesn’t need a transmitter and can hear people directly, but if He does, why there’s a need for a deity then? To tell God about our joys and sorrows? Of course not, deities are there to offer us the opportunity to engage in service. 5-10 seconds waiving of coconuts, flowers, and money on a tray is not it, proper worship should take one several hours each day, day in and day out without any breaks.

Not many people can do it, of course, and that’s why the Lord descended in Kali Yuga in the form of the Holy Name, something that went amiss for the movie creators. In general Hinduism the ability of the Lord to hear people directly is taken for granted without any consideration for Lord’s own arrangements. We are given the idea that we can invent our own methods of worship and they will all work the same regardless of Lord’s own instructions or feelings. Hinduism somehow makes God obliged to reciprocate with sloppiest of our services. We are being told that we are so special that God would eagerly accept everything from our hands.

Perhaps it all started with that fraud Rāmakṛṣṇa and his yata mata tata patha nonsense. This is what Śrīla Prabhupāda had to say about it (SB 6.8.19):

    Even most people who claim to belong to the Vedic system of religion are actually opposed to the Vedic principles. Every day they manufacture a new type of dharma on the plea that whatever one manufactures is also a path of liberation. Atheistic men generally say, yata mata tata patha. According to this view, there are hundreds and thousands of different opinions in human society, and each opinion is a valid religious principle. This philosophy of rascals has killed the religious principles mentioned in the Vedas, and such philosophies will become increasingly influential as Kali-yuga progresses.

He plainly calls such views atheistic and a philosophy of rascals. Do they have any chances of achieving Lord’s lotus feet? Umm, not quite, to say the least, as Śrīla Prabhupāda immediately continues:

    In the last stage of Kali-yuga, Kalkideva, the fierce incarnation of Keśava, will descend to kill all the atheists and will save only the devotees of the Lord.

Why should I feel protective about these Hindus?

In the movie they raise similar “wrong number” objections against other religions, too, in the spirit of equal rights, I guess. Christians tell people they would go to hell, Muslims tell girls they would shoot them if they go to school and so on. The movie also spends quite a lot of time arguing against religious identification itself. PK goes to a maternity ward and examines a new born baby for the signs of his religion, which God he should belong to. There’s no reason for us to be upset about that either.

Śrīla Prabhupāda brought us Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that people could transcend such materialistic view of religions and accept a scientific approach. Principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness are the same for each and every religion. The soul is a soul, God is God, and Holy Names are Holy Names. The fact that we concentrate on the name of Kṛṣṇa doesn’t mean any kind of sectarianism. Kṛṣṇa is not a Hindu name, it means the all attractive aspect of the Absolute Truth, and Lord Caitanya is the all merciful aspect of the Absolute.

We don’t claim monopoly on mercy, of course, but I don’t know of any religion that has any equivalent of Kṛṣṇa, and since they do not deliver that particular aspect of God their mercy is incomplete. They are free to worship all-knowing or all-powerful aspects of the Lord and there are unlimited number of names that would serve their purpose but Kṛṣṇa is just not one of them. It has nothing to do with Hinduism or Indian history.

And, of course, there’s always a great supply of outright fraudsters making all kinds of claims in the name of God. We used to reject them all and when the movie exposes them, too, there’s no reason for us to object.

Here’s the thing – while there were some protests against the movie, generally, Indians have accepted it as a genuine snapshot of contemporary religion and most of them do not feel offended in any way. Fraud is fraud and calling it for what it is does not offend anyone.

Another point is that we’ve been trough all of this before – a hundred years ago, and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura complained about contamination of Gauḍīyā vaiṣṇavism even earlier. Forget all the bogus religionists, even our own sampradāya got corrupted and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, whose appearance day is today, incidentally, had vigorously cleansed the body of Gauḍīyā vaiṣṇavism of all traces of corruption.

His attempt went a lot further than PK’s. He really turned corrupt establishment on its head. Family gurus were rejected en masse, brāhmaṇas were stripped of their privileges, all kinds of apa-sampradāyas were summarily dismissed – no one was safe. None of the characters or practices shown in the movie would get even the right to exist, let alone be treated as sacred.

Truth is, and it was loudly proclaimed by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta, none of it has anything to do with real religion, which is selfless and unadulterated service to the Absolute. All which is passed as religion nowadays is only an illusion. It was true a hundred years ago and it is still true today.

Truth is, these PK “revolutionaries” look like children compared to the expositions of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta. They spotted some mistakes here and there but they offer no alternatives, no solutions, and certainly no service to the Lord. What kind of reform is that? It shouldn’t be even mentioned in the same paragraph as Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s.

They are caught in the perpetual cycle of discovering some faults, making some noise, and reverting to the old ways only to start it all over again. Hundred years later, still on the same page. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta offered a real way out, uncompromising and unadulterated, but unless we take to it sincerely we’ll end up just like them, criticizing and criticizing and criticizing without making any progress.

Vanity thought #1103. Good times

My local newspaper has carried a couple of opinion pieces on the direction India is taking under their new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some readers responded. Some say that Hindu nationalism is benign and there’s nothing there to worry about. The reasons for this are to be found in its spiritual roots, particularly Ramakrishna and Vivekananda.

It starts with Ṛg Veda’s ekam sat vipra bahudhā vadanti – “one truth exists, sages call it by different names”. That axiom was later emphasized by Ramakrishna who was a student of many religions and found truth in them all. Vivekananda then took the torch and cited Bhagava Gīta’s ye yathā māḿ prapadyante verse (BG 4.11).

Hindu nationalism, therefore, must start with this universal truth and be accepting and accommodating of all religious paths, and any deviations must be declared deviations from Hinduism itself.

Well, it’s an optimistic view and I hope this time around there will be less violence than in the past, but this whole line of reasoning needs commenting.

First of all, to my knowledge, Śrīla Prabhupāda has never quoted that Ṛg Veda’s statement. It sounds like something he would say when criticizing others and we can easily imagine how it can be subverted by impersonalists to fit their own agenda.

Yes, Absolute Truth is one and sages do call it different names but we know that this diversity comes from different levels of their realization – brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11).

It doesn’t mean that all different names are the same though one could easily see how this misunderstanding might come about. Should learn from the authorities, then it will all be clear.

Ramakrishna was right when he said that God gives every society some form of the [same] religion and that all paths ultimately lead to the same truth but, again, one should learn these things from a proper authority. These paths are not equal, some are superior and some are inferior. We claim to belong to the superior tradition but have these distinctions internally, too – rāgānugā-bhakti is superior to sādhana.

Equating these paths lead one to justifying anything he does, losing all sense of perspective, and eventual stagnation on his spiritual path. For any serious student there’s always something higher, God is not just a ritually offered piece of meat, He is so much more than that.

Vivekananda’s Gīta’s quote is particularly faulty. He said, in his famous speech at the Congress of World Religions: “Whosoever comes to me, through whatever form, I reach him” but that is not even the accurate translation (let’s leave the second part out for now).

    ye yathā māḿ prapadyante
    tāḿs tathaiva bhajāmy aham

means “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” The *accordingly* part is completely missing from Vivekananda’s rendering. You can see it stressed in commentaries of three out of four major sampradāya ācāryas here, and the fourth talks about reciprocation “as they are capable of”, which is the same thing, still missing from Vivekananda.

He should have learned from proper authorities, not from self-made “guru” Ramakrishna.

These differences from proper understanding are very important to us but probably are missing on the large public. It’s important for us to propose the highest worship of the Lord, learn of Him as Kṛṣṇa, and serve Him as shown by Lord Caitanya, but general public, swayed by frauds like Ramakrishna et al will think that it’s all the same, whatever you do, you’ll achieve the same results, so keep doing whatever you are doing and it will turn out alright.

It won’t. This is Kali yuga, you will turn up in hell. All paths eventually lead to Kṛṣṇa, correct, but the current course, good for the next four hundred thousand years, lies through demoniac atheism and the court of Yamarāja. Nothing good will come out of going with the flow in this age, it’s a real danger.

Coming back to Hindu nationalism – I would argue that it’s a social, not religious phenomenon. I mean that religious arguments about non-violence and co-existence will not stop Hindu mobs from good old-fashioned Muslim bashing.

Actually, it’s not a light-hearted matter. Just over ten years ago thousands of Muslims were brutally killed in Gujarat and there’s a general consensus that Modi’s state government was complicit in the violence. Subsequently, Modi was denied visa to the US, if it ever means anything.

Hopefully, there will be no repetition this time and a ten year cycle is broken for good (1983 Nellie massacre, 1992 – Babri Mosque, 2002 – Gujarat). I think this will be due to continuous exposure to the global culture and economy rather than any spiritual insights by Hindu nationalists. Trying to integrate into the global world must have taught Indians that mob rule has no place in solving religious disagreements.

I would also argue that influence of pacifist ideas of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda on modern Indian history is overstated, too. The reason for this is simple – Vivekananda was the first to bring Hinduism to the West and so he became the only medium for western thinkers to understand religious roots of Indian politics. They simply didn’t know any better. Western scholars of Sanskrit and Vedas didn’t have enough reach to put Vivekananda into a proper perspective and probably didn’t care for subtle (for them) differences in interpretations of Vedānta.

It’s easy to find quotes from prominent Indians leaders at that time praising Vivekananda, too, but if you know Indians, they praise people professionally, it doesn’t mean anything in particular.

Ramakrsishna never registered on Indian leaders radar anyway. He was a “people’s saint” but his beef eating ways of “Muslim period” locked him out of any respect by Hindu orthodoxy of any kind. Indian intellectual leaders, otoh, were raised on Western ideas and movements like Brahmo Samaj, Ramakrishna was an outsider in those circles.

Vivekananda started with Brahmo Samaj as well and later he extensively wrote and commented on Vedanta (unlike Ramakrishna who relied solely on his personal visions) so he was a reasonably respected figure but his success in the West didn’t matter much back at home.

The group of future leaders who said they were influenced by Vivekananda formed Congress party which in the beginning was pro-Muslim and so followed Vivekananda’s teachings (though how of it is owed to Vivekananda is debatable). Later on they became secular and this is who modern Hindu nationalists are fighting against.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has roots in a movement also influenced by Vivekananda but that one, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has always been fiercely nationalist and extremist in its practices and outlooks and their “respect” for Vivekandna is a perfect example of typical Indian adoration for someone they never have a serious intention of following.

As I said, if BJP’s current rule passes peacefully it would not be due to their spiritual roots just as any violence would not be due to them reading too much of Bhagavad Gīta.

Should we welcome their reign? I think so, they might not be perfect but they do try to establish some sort of Vedic order in the society. It’s much better for the society than rule by the secular (read atheistic) Congress. Of course the society will judge the results by far less lofty ideas, like the state of the economy, but we, as Prabhupāda’s followers, should know better.

Still, one thing we should remember very well – even in Gandhi’s Gita thumping times Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī paid no attention to it. They don’t know the first thing about Bhagavad Gīta and their goals have nothing to do with spiritual progress. That’s basics. Practically, however, Śrīla Bhaktisiddānta engaged the rulers of the day in his preaching mission, too.

Perhaps our current “strategic GBC leaders” need to carefully study that period of Gauḍīyā history to avoid falling into a trap of ISKCON becoming a Hindu movement, but that is a whole other story.