Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out on
Demigod Worship in ISKCON


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 19, Spring 2008

The past 4 issues of BTP (please see page 5 of this issue) have illustrated the growing trend towards demigod worship in ISKCON. Prior to this, we had also highlighted the appeal for funds for the construction of a temple for Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva at a new ISKCON project in San Diego, spearheaded by GBC member Badrinarayan Das. According to ISKCON guru, HH Jayadvaita Swami:

“ISKCON has gone from being beyond Hinduism to being – very much Hindu! Temples have become centres for making cultural and social events, priests earn a livelihood doing weddings and hair cutting ceremonies, congregational members are encouraged to send their donations and get the blessings of the Lord and their names on plaques. Temples once the exclusive hold of Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krishna now are dominated by murtis of demigods.”
(HH Jayadvaita Swami, ISKCON Studies Conference, Italy, July 28th, 2007)

Given the above, below we see just how far ISKCON has deviated from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions; hardly surprising when he has been kicked out as the Guru of his own movement.

ISKCON temples not meant for demigod worship

“So I think that the Murti which you have got is not Visnu Murti, but it appears to be a Murti of Lord Siva. Anyway, this Murti is not worshipable by us. In our temple we shall always worship Radha Krishna Murti or Lord Jagannatha.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 15th, 1969)

“You know that we have refused even the Hindu people to hold demigod worship in our temple [...] As a matter of fact, we should not allow anyone to hold any function in our temple, otherwise than Vaisnava principle.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 10th, 1968)

“Regarding your Tuesday class at your place, you can continue it as a sub-branch of ISKCON Radha Krishna Temple. The procedure should be exclusively for chanting Hare Krishna mantra or singing other songs just like Govinda jaya jaya, Gopala jaya jaya . . ., and nothing more. Demigod worship in your house or thinking a demigod as equal with Narayana or Krishna should be stopped altogether, actually that is not the fact.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 10th, 1970)

“Some Hindus are supporting. I don’t want a Hindu temple. Our constitution is different. We want everyone. Krsna consciousness is for everyone. It is not a Hindu propaganda. People may not misunderstand.”
(Srila Prabhupada Meeting, June 9th, 1969)

“[...] this Krsna consciousness movement simply advocates worship of Krsna to the exclusion of the demigods.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.31.14 purport)

“If we divert our attention to worship other demigods, then our faith in Krishna will be flickering. We Gaudiya Vaisnavas, under the guidance of Lord Caitanya, want steady attention for Krishna, not flickering. Therefore, in our line of thoughts and action there is no scope for worshipping any other demigods.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 29th, 1970)

“The great sages and demigods never established statues of men or demigods, but they established temples of Visnu for the benefit of common men, to raise them to the platform of God consciousness.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.1.23, purport)

Demigod worship condemned

“Similarly, this verse condemns worship of the demigods. We may show our respect to the demigods, but the demigods are not worshipable.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.16.38, purport)

Demigod worship meant for unintelligent

“In Bhagavad-gita (7.20) it is said that persons who worship demigods have lost their intelligence: kamais tais tair hrta jnanah. They are much attracted to sense gratification, and therefore they worship the demigods. […] Such persons are bereft of Krsna consciousness and are not interested in devotional service to the Lord.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.32.2, purport)

“In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that one who worships the demigods like Brahma, Siva, Indra, Chandra, or demigoddesses like Kali, Durga, Sarasvati, etc. is described as a person who has lost his intelligence”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 25th, 1968)


“Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has said [...] if one wants to become a pure, staunch devotee, one should not take shelter of any of the demigods or -goddesses. […] It is to be concluded, therefore, that those who worship demigods or self-proclaimed incarnations of God are all atheists.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 10.11, purport)

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