Living in peace with Krishna West

I was reading something by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and he mentioned a stunning verse that immediately reminded me of Krishna West. In our books in appears only once, in the Eleventh Canto – translated and purported by Hridayananda Dasa Goswami himself. This should be enough of an authority for his followers but I wanted to investigate its origin a bit further. This is what I found.

In commenting on SB 11.20.9 Hridayananda Dasa Goswami apparently used Bhakti Sandarbha (A.173) for the purport because that seems to be the only place where he could have gotten the following verse mentioned by Jīva Goswāmī as being spoken by the Lord:

    śruti-smṛtī mamaivājñe
    yas te ullaṅghya vartate
    ājñā-cchedī mama dveṣī
    mad-bhakto ’pi na vaiṣṇavaḥ

    “The śruti and smṛti literatures are to be understood as My injunctions, and one who violates such codes is to be understood as violating My will and thus opposing Me. Although such a person may claim to be My devotee, he is not actually a Vaiṣṇava.”

That’s a very strong statement – they may claim to be devotees but they are not.

Krishna West argues that “devotional dress” does not exist and all the rules regulating our devotional appearances and behavior are Islamic in origin, or in any case do not need to be followed – because “preaching”. This argument is destroyed in this verse – we MUST follow injunctions of śruti and smṛti, simply going by what we think is “goodness” is not enough. Rejecting these prescriptions would disqualify us from being accepted as devotees by the Lord.

BTW, it’s plain obvious that devotional dress and behavior in ISKCON are a lot closer to South Indian vaiṣṇavas than to Muslims and I hope KW is not going to preach to Ramanujas or Madhvas that they are following Islamic rules, too. As you will see later, even if our codes were influenced by Muslims or Ramakrishnas it doesn’t mean they can be rejected.

So, back to the heavy speaking verse – where does it leave KW? What do they have to do? Embrace dhoties and saries and tilakas and halava? Not going to happen and should not be happening against their will. However, the verse itself (SB 11.20.9), which was also used by Jiva Goswami in the same anuccheda, gives a clue:

    tāvat karmāṇi kurvīta
    na nirvidyeta yāvatā
    mat-kathā-śravaṇādau vā
    śraddhā yāvan na jāyate

    As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions.

Sridhara Swami, also quoted in the anuccheda, explains: “The word ‘karmani’ here means ‘regular and occasional prescribed duties’.” HDG translated it as “fruitive activities” in the word-for-word, so it’s not exactly “regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions” as in the translation. This gives KW a way out – they have to follow prescribed duties according to their culture, regular and occasionally rising. These duties might not be Vedic but, as prescribed duties, we should accept them as some sort of upadharma for degraded people of non-Vedic civilizations.

That’s where they get their definitions of “goodness” already anyway, like acceptance of pants or pizza or french fries or or veggie burgers. Let them do it, in fact, they SHOULD do it – until they feel satiated and become naturally detached, or until they develop taste for Hari-Katha and forget they ever liked these things.

In the anuccheda Jiva Goswami mentions a few other verses explaining the conditions for when one can give up following “karmani” – when one takes complete shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord and stops relying on anything else in his life, which is a pretty advanced stage not yet reached by vast majority of non-KW devotees as well.

In this way both KW and mainstream ISKCON can happily co-exist. It becomes a problem only when KW devotees reject prescriptions given to mainstream devotees as artificial. That’s when they become non-vaiṣṇavas opposing to the Lord even if they still claim to be devotees. They, effectively, start saying that rules they follow themselves – how they dress, how they eat, how they behave in public – are sattvic and “real”, but mainstream vaiṣṇava rules are bogus. Calling them Islamic inventions only exacerbates the matter.

There’s another discussion about whether following upadharma can take one all the way to the Lord, as KW claims. SB verse above means that if they still feel the need to follow it then śraddhā yāvan na jāyate – their faith has not been yet awakened. In this position they shouldn’t be arguing about how exactly śraddhā will eventually blossom into prema. That would be premature.

This mistake – that by following upadharmas they feel they are qualified to talk about “going all the way”, as they say, is manifested in another area – that they feel they are qualified to talk about dharmas given in śāstra, too. Forget about arguing about actual merits of wearing dhoties all the time – the mistake is to treat dharma and upadharma as equal in the first place. They might not use the same words but that’s what they mean when they say things like “the Lord enjoys french fries and puris equally because they are both sattvic and are cooked with love and devotion.” Cooking oil is not sattvic, only ghee is sattvic, so the Lord would enjoy french fries cooked in ghee better than cooked in oil, there’s no equality even there, and that’s before comparing root vegetable (potato), which grows in cold, dump darkness to wheat.

This can be explained in many different ways, but the bottom line is simple – upadharma is called upadharma for a reason – it’s not as good as real dharma. At first, I was doubtful that I use the word “upadharma” correctly, but no, it seems fit with the definition in SB 7.15.13:

    dharma-bādho vidharmaḥ syāt
    para-dharmo ‘nya-coditaḥ
    upadharmas tu pākhaṇḍo
    dambho vā śabda-bhic chalaḥ

    Religious principles that obstruct one from following his own religion are called vidharma. Religious principles introduced by others are called para-dharma. A new type of religion created by one who is falsely proud and who opposes the principles of the Vedas is called upadharma. And interpretation by one’s jugglery of words is called chala-dharma.

It would seem unduly harsh to KW but they DO oppose the principles of the Vedas in favor of their version of “goodness” and they do think that Hridayananda Das Goswami is qualified to lay down new principles for others to follow, which is an indication of false pride being present, and it IS a new kind of religion when compared to mainstream ISKCON. I meant it to mean a sub-dharma not fit to be mentioned in Vedic texts but either definition is okay, mine was more generous.

The peace formula I propose here is simple – let them do their sattvic things, that’s how they’ll eventually get purified, but they shouldn’t reject rules followed by mainstream as bogus. They should just stay out of these “comparative studies”, nothing good will come from criticizing ISKCON. Most likely they’ll develop an attitude that is condemned by the Lord and the Lord Himself will stop considering them as His devotees. That’s a pretty heavy warning there at the top. As I said – stunning.


Vanity thought #1726. In memoriam

For some reason it’s not often that I see something inspiring on Dandavats. There are plenty of inspirational articles there, this cannot be denied, but I often fail to resonate with them. Sometimes it’s the sheer volume of information that makes me skip reading this or that and I postpone it for another day. The entire “Daily Meditation” series is a case in point – you either read them every day or wait until you have time to go through them all. I hope they won’t disappear from the Internet.

These recollections of Śrīla Prabhupāda pastimes are priceless and there must be something like a hundred posts in the series already, I read maybe the first thirty. I also have another ninety e-mails in my mail box with another series of posts about Prabhupāda, they arrive almost every day and I can barely keep this ever growing number under a hundred. I also have two more books about Prabhupāda on my must read list and I would also like to read Līlāmṛta again. And that is just about Prabhupāda, not counting all other books in our ever growing library, which all comes on top of reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books as part of our daily sādhana.

Maybe this explains why I’m not so excited about a dozen or so posts that pop up on Dandavats every day. Each one of them deserves special consideration, each one of them is beneficial for the development of our devotion, but I just haven’t got the time. This past week, however a couple of posts stood out. One is the minutes of annual GBC meeting.

A lot of it is a trivial stuff – who was appointed to do what, what ministries do we have, what resolve we must show, what programs GBC supports this year, zonal assignments, candidates for sannyāsa and so on. They saved the best for the last, however. There’s a section on Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī and a section on Bhakti Vikāśa Svāmī’s book “Women: Masters or Mothers”. One is a good news and one is bad.

Earlier GBC sent emissaries to talk to Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī about his Krishna West program (no diacritics in Krishna here because it goes kinda against his philosophy of making things easier for westerners). People on Samparadaya Sun have nothing but condemnation for his preaching, which I see rather as a badge of honor. Not a proof that his preaching method is legitimate but that his efforts are noticeable and provoke rage in our enemies. Pretty much like Prabhupāda relished fighting de-programming lawsuits in the US in the seventies because to him it was proof that we ARE making change in people’s lives. Of course, devotees on Sampradaya Sun are not our enemies per se but they do love to criticize those who preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness and they do love to tell us how wrong we are.

Personally, I don’t understand Krishna West very well, I’ve seen the website but I don’t know what it looks like in practice, whether it works, and what kind of devotees it produces. I don’t understand why it has to be called a separate thing because wearing karmī clothes and slightly longer hair for preaching has been around since Prabhupāda’s time. There are pros an cons to this, some would wear a very visible tilaka while others will leave only a faint mark so as not to scare people away. I don’t see Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī proposing anything new here.

The meeting he had with representatives of GBC was not about substance of his program, which I see as proof that there are no principal objections to it, but about two sticky points – his criticism of GBC and his personal behavior as a sannyāsī. GBC is right to be concerned about sowing seeds of animosity between GBC and Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī’s followers and Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī was right to promise that he would stop doing it. GBC is still our ultimate authority and it’s still our collective representative of Śrīla Prabhupāda. This undisputed position, however, gives us a reason to grouch and grumble before finally admitting that they are right and we are ought to follow them. Nothing was mentioned in GBC minutes about Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī’s personal behavior and whether he agreed to modify his lifestyle. It’s not healthy when people put up pictures of him being close with women even if nothing untoward happened, it’s not a good example for the rest of us.

That was the good news – Hṛdayānanda Dāsā Gosvāmī wasn’t excommunicated, his preaching programs wasn’t ordered to stop, and the brewing conflict has been largely resolved, I don’t think either of the sides will escalate it in the future. The bad news is that “Women: Masters or Mothers” has been banned. Maybe GBC will produce another paper justifying its decision but for now they just said that it reflects personal views o Bhakit Vikāśa Svāmī and propagates practices illegal in many countries, and it leads to conflict between ISKCON devotees.

I haven’t read the book but only an infamous NA GBC letter with a list of objections (extensively covered in this series of posts). All those objections were against views indisputably supported by Śrīla Prabhupāda himself, I didn’t see anything personal from Bhakti Vikāśa Svāmī there but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t add his own perspectives at all. What is clear is that not all of ISKCON concurs with those views at the present moment so it shouldn’t purport to speak for our whole society. From this POV I can see how GBC might think it’s better to ban it altogether. This doesn’t answer the question why GBC and parts of ISKCON are uncomfortable with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements on these topics, however. I also don’t see how banning the book will help bridge the divide between those who support and object to it. This isn’t the most reconciliatory message GBC could have sent to Bhakti Vikāśa Svāmī, his disciples, and those who agree with him on this. There were two sections in GBC meetings about reconciliation with those who either left ISKCON or no longer involved with it but then they end with telling our active members to cease and desist. It looks like a clash between their desired PR image and the reality of their actions and attitudes.

As our ultimate authority they have the right to this dissonance as well. What can I say? I know the book is right, I’m not the one selling it, I do sympathize with those who do, but I have no choice but to accept the ruling and hope that it will all turn out alright. It’s just a book of quotes from Prabhupāda anyway, it doesn’t tell anything new and it doesn’t fill any gaps in knowledge, and GBC has nothing substantial to add on the matter either. It’s just politics, it’s unavoidable and GBC, as a managing authority, is almost entitled to practicing it.

What we should all remember here is that the only real value in our lives is the mercy that comes down to us from Śrīla Prabhupāda and through his disciples. Material nature will add twists and turns to this mercy and it will make us fight one another but none of that should be taken seriously. He said, she said – it’s all only foam on the surface of the ocean of mercy, it will always be there, and it’s actually my main point today – the video dedicated to departed disciples of Śrīla Prabupāda that appeared on Dandavats as well:

Right now I’m not in the mood to properly address what is shown there, but I don’t think it needs any commentary either, it’s pretty much self-evident.

Vanity thought #1064. Uneven Time

Yesterday I talked how we must adapt to the changing times, otherwise we get lost. However, things move so fast in the modern world, faster than ever, so adapting to every mood shift is implausible. Some try to stay on top of the wave, especially tech industry, but they are also the ones who die in droves. What strategy should we use? What balance should we strike? Let’s look at the problem a bit closer.

Usually, industry giants were always able to predict, direct, or at least quickly respond to market trends but that era is almost gone. Gone are the days when people looked to Apple for the next innovation, for example. Microsoft fortress looked impenetrable but they lost the music, lost the mobile, lost tablets, and, latest news, are trying not to lose lower end notebook market (which they lost once already but muscled back). Sony once was the magic name but the company is nearly bankrupt because they missed on everything at once.

I don’t know what’s going on with fashion. What I do know is that none of the brands I remember still exist. Every time I go to the mall it’s filled with shops I’ve never heard of. Malls themselves are a hopelessly outdated concept.

Big companies can adapt to the changing times by buying successful startups rather than by leading themselves but it’s a hit and miss strategy that brings them money but not recognition – everybody knows their brands but not the brand owners.

Small companies do not try to win at everything. They are content to have their short day in the sun, cash in, and then go try their hand at something else. People who work there likewise are not looking for lifetime employment, that concept is as outdated as suburban malls. Being on the move, being dynamic, always looking forward – that’s today’s motto. Stability is not it anymore. Everyone is chasing a short term high and jumps the ship the moment they sense things stopped growing.

How we can stay relevant among all this mess?

Kṛṣṇa West movement tries to address changing times in their own way but I’m afraid their time scale is too big. Changes happen too fast for us to adapt to the latest trends and while we might appear hip today no one would look at us two weeks from now. While Kṛṣṇa West might look okay by the standards of the last decade – open minded, liberal people, nothing fanatic about them, just your regular, likable folks, the fact is that this image already looks outdated to the up and coming generation.

Hṛdayanānda Dāsa Gosvāmī is right when he says that when people see devotees in orange robes dancing on the streets they might like it like the like Cirque du Soleil but no matter how pleasing it is, no one wants to join the circus itself. We need to appear a bit saner than that, we need to provide a more accommodating environment. We can argue about it all day long but we DO look like a cult to the outsiders. Not many people will leave their safe spaces and join a cult, no matter how attractive it is.

We should look familiar and safe and we shouldn’t look like we are going to unplug people from their lives and leave them ungrounded. Many would go crazy and many have gone crazy when their entire value system is/was suddenly replaced by ours.

So, should we always stay hip, like our “Bhakti Fest” program and “Festival of Colors”, should we be a but more middle class like Kṛṣṇa West, should we remain true to our tradition like, well, Bhakti Vikasa Swami advocates? Or should we try some other approach?

I think, all of the above.

Dreaded, māyāvādī infested Bhakti Fest attracts its own crowd and we wouldn’t be able to hold on to them with traditional ISKCON practices no matter what. It’s a lost case, if they come to sing Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra with some DJ Yogi then let them do that, better than dancing with some DJ Bhogi (though there’s no actual difference).

If vegans want vegan prasāda or else they won’t come, let them have vegan prasāda made with organic bird food and cooked in cold pressed recycled oil, if that’s their thing. Better than eating that stuff outside our temples.

If some devotees feel more comfortable approaching people while looking a tad less brainwashed than Mormons than good for them. We have too many devotees who don’t approach people and preach at all. Kṛṣṇa will guide them and purify their hearts, so what if they look below our expected standards at the moment?

And no one should ever say anything against those who want to live strictly as Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed. Dhoti, tilaka, books in hand – it works, we’ve made thousands and thousands devotees this way, we need people whose life will be transformed by the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Yes, we don’t find as many now as in the seventies, when they shaved their heads right at the malls they bought the books, but it still works and we still need to find people who would not give a second look to Bhakti Fest crazies or neatly dressed missionaries. There always are sincere souls out there who will take the authentic Kṛṣṇa consciousness full on. We need them. Kṛṣṇa needs them.

Time changes, but it doesn’t change equally for everyone. Some are very fast, always at the front. Some are slow and seek shelter of traditions, some are tethered to things they got used to ten-twenty years ago and they look for those who understand them. Everybody is on a different page now and so we should also be all over the spectrum.

I’m afraid we can’t expect our society to become unified to the degree proponents or opponents of one method or the other want to. We need to accommodate all kinds of devotees and we need to appeal to all kinds of people. We need to have our internal structure to become flexible enough to change with these uneven times, too.

We have to rethink what initiation means to our devotees. And by devotees here I mean everyone who ever came to our programs and belted Kṛṣṇa’s names from the depth of his heart, even if it was only once. We need to find a suitable level of acceptance for everyone. Millions and millions will come but not be ready to follow our full program, and we should still see them as our people, Kṛṣṇa’s people, people we have to serve as Kṛṣṇa’s dearest. That means they are initiated even if not formally.

Moreover, some of these people WILL commit themselves fully but probably not in the way our traditionalists expect. Devotees in Kṛṣṇa West ARE devotees, fully fledged ones, and if they have some impurities in their hearts it doesn’t matter anymore – they’ve taken to the process, demonstrated their commitment, they should be above criticism now.

On the other hand, our purity is our strength and so we need those who can follow the program to a tee. They are the ones who should provide a living example that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a real thing and not make it as you go trend. Like it or not, but there’s only one way to approach Kṛṣṇa, and for us it lies through Prabhupāda. There should be people in our movement who can satisfy all his demands. Others can then approach him through their blessings, and they should be a bit more liberal with those.

Everybody should have a place and some should be more prominent than others but they should be there. We all are Kṛṣṇa’s family, no matter how weird. We might come from different time zones but Kṛṣṇa is the master of all time, He accepts everyone, and so should we.

Vanity thought #999. The world is round

The controversy surrounding Kṛṣna West rages on, as tabloids would have put it, yet it’s not far from the truth. On the other hand, who knows what the truth out there is? There are so many contradicting claims and each comes with solid backing, be it GBC, Śrila Prabhupāda, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, śāstras and what not. What if none of those claims are seriously taken by anyone but a dozen or so direct participants? What if they don’t speak for anybody but themselves?

Personally, the more I read about it the more it looks like a storm in a teacup and, perhaps, a personal crusade. It doesn’t mean that this crusade has no valid reasons but it does indicate that this squabbling is simply a sign of Kali in action. So far degeneration reached only the point of calling other devotees obnoxious but there are signs of more to come, I will explain later.

The amount of carefully written material soon can reach a volume fit for a book but at the core of it lies one single issue – how ISKCON should deal with homosexuality. All the other stuff just grows around it, being drawn down into a generated whirlpool. Even on that issue it all boils down to one single sentence from Śrila Prabhupada’s purport (SB 3.20.26):

    .the homosexual appetite of a man for another man is demoniac and is not for any sane male in the ordinary course of life.

I think we all get it – homosexuality is demoniac in nature. I seriously doubt that there’s any single person in ISKCON who thinks otherwise. Where else could it come from? Sattva guna? Given this universal agreement it’s hard to understand how it could turn into such a big issue but it happened.

HH Hṛdayānanda Dāsa Gosvāmī doesn’t see it as a call to any particular course of action, rightfully, in my opinion, but his detractors insist that he is wrong and there should be no such thing as gay devotees. Wait a minute – that’s not what they say. Come to think of it, they just say that mahārāja is wrong without spelling out the alternatives. Or, perhaps, I missed them – who has the time and inclination to read all that they’ve written over the years?

Of course gay devotees exist and there exist gays who are interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Their non-traditional sexuality cannot overrule the fundamental principle of spiritual life – jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’ – everyone is a servant of the Lord, there are no exceptions.

There are plenty of quotes from Śrila Prabhupāda condemning homosexuality but there are also quotes and real life stories of him dealing with actual gay people and they are not as black and white as Hṛdayānanda mahārāja’s detractors want it to portray.

What happened next is that they took mahārāja’s mention of consequentialism and turned it into a life defining philosophy. I wrote about it a month ago and I just fail to see its significance here. It’s certainly not something that can separate devotees from non-devotees but that’s what the detractors did next – they say that on the basis of accepting homosexuality and adopting consequentialism mahārāja stopped being a follower of Śrila Prabhupāda and so should be rejected.

What I see here is the principle of uniting on the basis of the common hatred (discussed here) in action. When school girls gang up on one of their friends they tend to hate everything about her – hair, looks, behavior, and, I’m afraid, this is the kind of mentality that is being on display here, too – everything about Kṛṣṇa West needs to be rejected. Why?

All I can see is a devotee who has dedicated his life to the mission of Śrila Prabupāda trying to find new, better ways to preach. I know books are the basis but one day people will stop buying them as a matter of principle and we will need to find some other way to make them absorb our message. Mahārāja is not going quite as far yet but he sees that we need to adapt to the changing time, and times have seriously changed in the past forty something years.

Of course he could be criticized for taking on himself a role of an ācārya and daring to introduce unacceptable changes but that’s what they said about Śrila Prabhupāda, too, and before that about Śrila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. Somebody has to try, ācāryas don’t come with “ācārya certificate”, we have to look at the results and then conclude whether innovations are genuine and can be replicated.

Maybe this what will happen with Kṛṣṇa West, maybe it won’t, but why should anyone blame devotees for trying to push the mission forward even if they fail? I can explain it by hatred blinding people’s hearts but I hope it’s not quite as bad yet.

Or maybe it is – it appears that mahārāja’s detractors have discovered an excuse in the teachings of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to legitimately criticize devotees and that’s why I’m afraid the situation might get worse. Snowball effect applies not only to dragging everything mahārāja ever said and done into the controversy but also to criticizing others. Once people think they have the mandate and they can get away with it, who knows where they will stop and how much collateral damage will be there?

There are two related passages from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, both appeared in newspapers he published rather than his books. First deals with what constitutes offenses against vaiṣṇavas and the second describes certain conditions where discussing faults should not be considered offensive.

As for faults themselves – there are three kinds of them. First is impurities from his past – we can’t blame devotees for that. Second is impurities that are in the process of rectification – we shouldn’t blame devotees for trying to improve themselves, and the third is accidental faults – even Kṛṣṇa says they should not be taken seriously – api cet su-durācāro (BG 9.30).

Interesting point here is that all the faults we can observe in a devotee fall under one of those categories and devotees cannot have any other faults by definition – they wouldn’t be devotees otherwise. I think it’s silly to suggest that Hṛḍayānanda Dāsa Gosvāmī is not a devotee so whatever faults that might appear in his behavior are off limits.

Here comes the second part, though – the proper attitude and motivations that do not lead to vaiṣṇava aparādhas:

    Proper motive is of three types:
    desiring the welfare of the person criticized,
    desiring the welfare of the world
    and desiring one’s own welfare

“Welfare” here obviously means spiritual welfare, but that alone is not enough – we do not have authoritative explanations on how to apply this advice in real life. The sources detractors site are Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja and Sampradaya Sun editorials, the latter especially fond of dishing it to others. We need better sources on a subject matter so serious and so crucial to our spiritual health.

Nevertheless, we can take the words at the face value and see if critics of Kṛṣṇa West display these signs of proper motivation. I’ve never seen them say anything that can be construed as a concern for Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja’s spiritual welfare, so the first one can be ruled out. They do seem to care about effect homosexuality has on the world and they do care about preserving message of Śrila Prabhupāda so the second one is possible. They might also do it for their own elucidation just as I criticize their criticism here.

There should be caveats to it, though. By itself these proper motives might not cause any negative reactions but nothing in this world is pure. There’s no word that all other motives mixed with these primary ones are excused as well. One’s own welfare, for example, is a very shaky ground. In the conditioned state we can’t see our real spiritual welfare and mostly act out of material self-interest. That’s why we need gurus and instructions – to make sure we are not serving our own false ego. The case against Hṛḍayānanda Mahārāja is led by his former disciple who publicly rejected his guru so his motivations are doubly suspicious.

Ditto “welfare of the world” – the saying that road to hell is paved with best intentions might not have śāstric origins but it’s still an acute observation of how things are in this day and age. We can’t blindly accept “welfare of the world” as an excuse to indulge in discussing other people’s faults, especially if these discussions are accompanied with outright attacks on devotees, as is the case with Kṛṣṇa West.

Bottom line – Kṛṣṇa West is born out of desire to reach the hearts of people who we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise, and, perhaps as an alternative of Hnduisation of ISKCON, ie reaction to too much East. Its proponents might be looking West but, thing is, as long as Kṛṣṇa is at the center we will always rotate around Him. Going West will make one complete a full circle and come back from the other side.

There’s even a comic about this obsession with the “west” which I leave here as a final note: