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Spring 2005

Sometimes devotees ask why we need to constantly criticise ISKCON's renegade gurus:

"Why not just glorify Srila Prabhupada, that will attract more people",
"Just concentrate on positive preaching, distribute books, and stop criticising others,"

are comments we sometimes here. In response to this:

Firstly, we always quote extensively from Srila Prabhupada - our last issue included more than forty excerpts from his books, conversations and letters. We also publish many positive letters and stories from devotees around the world who have practically experienced the benefits of rejecting ISKCON's ersatz gurus and directly worshipping Srila Prabhupada.

Secondly, the heaviest criticisms in our magazine usually emanate from the so-called gurus themselves as they fight and squabble over the spoils of their unauthorised takeover. BTP certainly presents the truth in an uncompromising and direct style, but that is authorised:

"Devotees always humbly offer respect to everyone, but when there is a discussion on a point of sastras (scripture), they do not observe the usual etiquette, satyam bruyat priyam bruyat. They speak only the satyam (truth), although it may not necessarily be priyam (following norms of etiquette)."
(Srila Prabhupada letter 7.8.76)

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Thirdly, and perhaps most ironically, ISKCON itself already expends a great deal of effort glorifying Srila Prabhupada via various publications, videos, diaries and memorial festivals.

Srila Prabhupada is undoubtedly ISKCON's biggest asset. His vast cannon of teachings and outstanding personal example are what usually attract people to the Movement in the first place. Srila Prabhupada wrote all the books that shall form the basis of everything ISKCON will ever teach for up to ten thousand years hence. It is these books that explain the entire science of Krishna Consciousness, and inspire people to surrender their lives to Krishna. In effect the guru hoaxers have made a career out of basking in Srila Prabhupada's reflected glory, using him to bolster their own competing mini-missions. For these personalities, Srila Prabhupada is the goose who always lays the golden eggs. That is why they must keep telling people how great he is and promoting his books.

The guru hoaxers use this glorification rather like an unscrupulous shop keeper who puts an attractive item in his window to attract the punters, only to sell them a vastly inferior product once they set foot inside the store. This is called bait and switch. You draw people in with something wonderful, and then switch it for something cheap and nasty once you have them 'hooked'. Newcomers to ISKCON are thus encouraged- 'Look how wonderful Srila Prabhupada is, what a perfect spiritual master!', and then when they join the product is switched- 'but you can only have him as your direct guide for the first six months, then you must choose someone else from the GBC approved guru list.'

It sounds strange but the fact is that if BTP only expanded on this 'glorification' it would actually be doing the greatest disservice. We would simply be assisting in the process of drawing people into the guru hoaxer's trap. It is for this reason that BTP balances glorification of Srila Prabhupada with detailed information on how some individuals are trying to exploit Srila Prabhupada for their own self-aggrandisement.

Just as a doctor who prescribes medicine without warning of possible side effects would be acting unprofessionally, as devotees it is completely irresponsible to attract people to Srila Prabhupada' Movement without telling them anything about what's gone wrong.

ISKCON may appear to be teaching Krishna Consciousness, but the formula has been changed. Srila Prabhupada's final order on how initiations were to run has been disobeyed, and this one act of defiance is causing untold harm to everyone involved.

Thus the aim of BTP is to:

  1. prevent new devotees from accepting unauthorised replacements for Srila Prabhupada.
  2. expose those who are 'glorifying' Srila Prabhupada simply as a means of expanding their own little empires.
  3. encourage devotees to work together to return to the correct, winning formula, as originally ordered by Srila Prabhupada in his institutional directive of July 9th 1977

In this way we hope to one day put an end to the bait and switch scam that has been going on since November 14th 1977.

So BTP concentrates only on the subject of showing why those who stand between us and Srila Prabhupada as his substitutes are unnecessary and unauthorized; that it is more important to do this rather than convince everyone of Srila Prabhupada's greatness, since the GBC themselves rely on this very greatness of Srila Prabhupada as part of their “bait-and-switch” tactic. In support of this point, Srila Prabhupada states the following:

Hamsaduta: It would make a good article, what you've just spoken.
Srila Prabhupada: So write.
Harikesa: You so completely destroy the opposition, it's very hard to say anything more.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That you have to prove. You can eulogize your Guru Maharaja, but you have to learn it and face the public and be strong to defend yourself. That is success. Not by praising your Guru Maharaja. You'll praise your Guru Maharaja. That is not very difficult. But be victorious to the opposing elements. Then you will praise your Guru Maharaja nicely. At home, you can praise your Guru Maharaja, and Guru Maharaja be satisfied, “Oh, my disciples are praising me.” That is not very.... That is good. Respectful. That is the qualification. But you have to fight. Then your Guru Maharaja will be glorified.

(Room Conversation, December 26th, 1975)

Srila Prabhupada makes it very clear that what is required is to “defend”, “fight” and be “victorious”, and not to simply “praise” him. Thus taking the cue from Srila Prabhupada, BTP's success should be measured, according to Srila Prabhupada, in terms of how much it is fighting and emerging victorious against those elements who oppose Srila Prabhupada's position as the real and only bona fide Guru for ISKCON, and not just by how much “praise” it contains. Only then will Srila Prabhupada be truly glorified.