Fiction fever grips ISKCON


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 29, Autumn 2010

In the last issue of BTP we reported on the growing and dangerous trend towards fictionalising the Vedic teachings. We highlighted in particular the free-forall fiction-writing project of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) – an organisation originally established by Srila Prabhupada to publish and distribute his books exclusively; and the production, promotion and distribution within ISKCON of a multi-million dollar fantasy cartoon series of Lord Krishna, full of fictionalised "pastimes" not mentioned in Srila Prabhupada's books. Earlier in BTP 11 we noted the "gopi-bhava" deviation of ISKCON GBC guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS"), who not only wrote about the confidential "gopi" pastimes of Krishna and His maidservants, but fictionalised them as well, all contrary to Srila Prabhupada's instructions:

"The first poetic license, therefore, was to induce the fictional characters Syamalata and Nava-sakhi. As a consequence of this decision, these literary characters interact with real historical persons such as Radha and Krsna".
(SRS, Na paraye 'ham, p.19)

Sivarama Swami's gopi fiction

Yet, the deviancy of introducing imaginative speculations into the philosophy of Krishna consciousness has not only been introduced, but continues to expand unabated. In his recent book, Suddha Bhakti-Cintamani, SRS continues to be at the forefront of publishing and distributing such gopi fiction literature.

In this book he writes about imagining what it is to become a gopi, whilst again admitting that the contents are all made-up, full of his own imaginations superimposed on the sacred pastimes of the Lord and His associates:

"Acyutananda […] remembered how the Divine Couple […] with the gopis [...] he remembered how Krsna and His princess […] Their girlfriends in the ecstasy […] He saw the Divine Couple surrounded by gopis, who […] He also saw, somewhat distant from the scene, one young gopi whom he knew to be himself […] he perceived himself as a gopi serving Radha and Krsna in Vraja"
(SRS, Suddha-Bhakti Cintamani, pp.740, 742, 743)

NOTE: To avoid the spiritual contamination of our readers, we have deliberately reproduced just enough description to prove the subject matter written about.

"Acyutananda Dasa is a fictional character, as are the other personalities, places (other than the holy dhamas), and events in this narrative."
(Suddha Bhakti-Cintamani, p. 699)

Yet, Srila Prabhupada has heavily condemned one imagining oneself to be a gopi:

"So to endeavor to become gopis, that is also Mayavadi, that "I shall become gopis." No. You have to become the servant of the servant of the servant of gopis."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, October 2nd, 1976)

"Unfortunately, most people do not hear the Srimad- Bhagavatam from authoritative sources. They hear only from professional reciters. Therefore they remain materially diseased, full of lusty desires. Some become sahajiya, pretending to be Krishna and Radharani and Her gopi friends."
(A Second Chance, chapter 16)

Ultimate debauchery

In BTP 19, we observed how SRS had degraded from simply fictionalising accounts of Radha and Krishna's pastimes with the gopis, to actually imitating the gopis in real life in their vows and worship. And now he has expanded into openly expressing what it is to imagine to be a gopi. To grasp just how deviant such activities and consciousness are, even the GBC, in a rare moment of support for Srila Prabhupada's instructions, issued an edict outlawing such "gopi" tendencies:

"The recent proliferation in ISKCON of literature focusing on "rasika-bhakti," intimate Radha-Krsna lila, and other subject matters suitable only for highly advanced souls, represents a departure from Srila Prabhupada's orders and obstructs the smooth spiritual progress of ISKCON devotees. ISKCON members should therefore avoid collecting, reading, discussing, or distributing such literature."
(Resolution No. 73, GBC Resolutions 1995)

Indeed, Srila Prabhupada condemned such "gopi" imitation in no uncertain terms as "debauchery":

"It is not that to imitate gopis. That is sahajiya. That is sahajiya. […] Don't try to imitate. That is sahajiya."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, June 11th, 1976)

Prabhupada: "They want to utilize the love affairs of Krishna and gopis for their debauchery. That is a support for their debauchery. That is sahajiya."
Tamala Krishna: "That's the meaning of sahajiya."
Prabhupada: "Yes."
(Morning Walk Conversation, June 7th, 1976)

Usual hypocrisy

We have noted previously that Kali-yuga, the current age in which we live, is characterised as being full of hypocrisy, and that this hypocrisy is epitomised by ISKCON's guru hoaxers and their supporters. Consequently, it is no surprise to find that SRS himself quotes Srila Prabhupada condemning such premature gopi tendencies in Suddha Bhakti- Cintamani, the very same book in which he has manufactured his own gopi-bhava fiction:

"The Gopi-bhava Club Controversy Srila Prabhupada wrote […] 'Here in Los Angeles, we have found that there is a group of about 40 devotees who privately meet to discuss the intimate pastimes artificially thinking that they can enter into the understanding of the gopis prematurely. This will create havoc in our society, and the result will be that if this is allowed to go on, our preaching work will be greatly hampered."
(SPL Nitai, Los Angeles, 7 June 1976)
[…] When Srila Prabhupada finally met representatives of the Gopi-bhava club, he compared their attempt to focus exclusively on the gopis to the "jumping of monkeys"."
(SRS, Suddha-Bhakti Cintamani, pp 554- 555)

As we had pointed out in BTP 11, SRS was himself a leading member of the resurrected Narayana Maharaja-led Gopi-bhava club in the 1990s – and it certainly looks like he has every intention of remaining in it!


According to Srila Prabhupada, SRS's condemned fiction is creating havoc in ISKCON – and that's on top of all the other havoc he and the other guru hoaxers have already created by kicking Srila Prabhupada out as ISKCON's guru.

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