ISKCON guru follows BTP’s lead


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 33, Autumn 2011

In BTP 30, the article “ISKCON’s new mission” summarised what we had been detailing from the very outset – that today’s ISKCON is a completely different mission to that started by Srila Prabhupada in 1966, having turned instead into a deviant, secularised, commercialised, pseudo-yoga, quasi-Hindu group. Now one prominent ISKCON guru, HH Bhakti Vikash Swami (“BVKS”), who has previously been featured in BTP attacking us, has taken our lead straight after the publication of our article, and himself launched an unprecedented 3-hour attack on ISKCON, agreeing in toto with every point made by us! This continues the trend which we have documented for a number of years, of more and more ISKCON leaders being forced by the IRM’s preaching to agree with the conclusions of the IRM.
Statements by BVKS are from a lecture he gave in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India on August 24th, 2011, and a follow-up lecture on October 10th, 2011. Quotes from BTP are from the aforementioned article.

Today’s ISKCON is completely deviant

The conclusion of the BTP article stated:

“Having left Srila Prabhupada behind, ISKCON’s leadership has naturally also left behind Srila Prabhupada’s movement and teachings, with top to bottom deviation in every sphere.”

BVKS agrees:

“the ritvik-vadis […] they go through all lectures […] they’ll probably love this one! […] our movement’s basically off the track and not properly following Srila Prabhupada. I know this is very discouraging […] things are not philosophically in order in our movement […] ISKCON has changed, and my contention is that it’s become more mundane, and it’s getting worse, and we are inured to that. ‘Inured’ means there’s something bad, you get used to it so that you just think that it’s normal. […] It’s too far gone. […] So I don’t think anything at this point is going to change […] So then I thought, well that’s, you know, that just shows our movement’s a sahajiya* movement […] But it is difficult to train people within the present ISKCON Society when there are all these mayavada** and sahajiya influences. I mean just like, for instance, there’s thousands of things we could say.”

**Impersonalist, atheistic philosophy

Having demonstrated BVKS’s complete capitulation to the overall conclusion of the BTP article, below we also detail his agreement on the individual points made in the BTP article.

ISKCON engaged in deviant deity worship

BTP article states:

“Even when Krishna is worshipped in ISKCON temples, nonauthorised methods have been introduced to accommodate popular culture.”

BVKS states:

“One thing that Srila Prabhupada – he wrote that “I am very afraid that after I leave, the Deity worship standard will be diminished.” But it is. It’s become accepted within our Society. […] So the standards have in many cases very much diminished. So that’s a serious problem.”

ISKCON not based on Srila Prabhupada’s books

BTP article states:

“The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) routinely publishes and distributes non-Bhaktivedanta books, in which Srila Prabhupada’s radical message is watered-down. […] Additionally, many of the ISKCON guru hoaxers are also pushing the distribution of their own books in competition with Srila Prabhupada’s books.”

BVKS states:

“In some places the idea is that, it’s openly promoted that, “Well, Prabhupada’s books, they’re too difficult to understand so we have other books by other people, by other members of ISKCON. […] They have to read other books and they distribute these other books.”

ISKCON engaged in demigod worship

BTP article states:

“ISKCON temples are no longer the preserve for the exclusive worship of Krishna, with the worship of demigods now occurring alongside the worship of Krishna.”

BVKS states:

“You know people are initiated and they don’t have any idea that they’re not supposed to worship demigods”.

ISKCON engaged in mundane education

BTP article states:

“With a view to being recognised and “accredited” by the State, ISKCON has largely abandoned its gurukula system of education, in favour of various initiatives which promote secular education.”

BVKS states:

“So like this, schools and colleges, Srila Prabhupada was very clearly against mundane education which is why he set up gurukulas. Nowadays, schools in ISKCON, they proudly announce that “Our school is affiliated with the Cambridge Board”.

ISKCON engaged in mundane philanthropy

BTP article states:

“To appear mainstream, ISKCON is active today in a whole host of various philanthropic causes which have no connection to any Krishna conscious activities prescribed by Srila Prabhupada […] such activities are condemned by
Srila Prabhupada: ‘They are very much puffed up, that “We are doing this, opening hospital and school, and philanthropism, nationalism.” Is there any such thing in the Bhagavad-gita?’ ”

BVKS states:

“So if we tell people that, “You see, we’re helping people, you should donate because we’re building hospitals and schools, then we are, by not informing them that the actual welfare work for all living beings is to surrender to Krishna, and encouraging them to act in a manner which they already with, but which is maya*, we’re actually encouraging them to be in maya. […] Who will dare to make such an accusation, that the bodily welfare work being carried out within ISKCON is deceiving others and ourselves?”


Academic confirmation of ISKCON deviation

BTP article states:

“Academics whom ISKCON has specifically invited to study the movement, provide independent confirmation of the fact that ISKCON has completely diluted its spiritual purity to launch effectively what is a new movement, different from that established by Srila Prabhupada.” [Quotation from Burke Rochford, Hare Krishna Transformed, follows.]

BVKS states:

“There’s even a whole book written about it called Hare Krishna Transformed, by E. Burke Rochford, Jr. about how the movement has deliberately changed from what Prabhupada instituted.”

The above is just a brief summary of BVKS agreeing with BTP’s points. BVKS gives many more examples of ISKCON’s wholesale deviation – for example, he also says that a GBC member has told him that ISKCON Mayapur is run by a mafia!

The cause – the guru hoaxers

BVKS states that the cause of this mass deviation within ISKCON is the leaders of the movement, since none of them are even on the level of being a brahmana (learned, scholarly priest who acts as the leader of society):

“So these are just some examples of how those who are the leaders seem to be very much misleading, themselves not properly situated. […] So Srila Prabhupada always said about varnasrama* that the first thing is to get the brahmana order, then the others can follow, because if the head is not in order, even if you have healthy body, if the head is not in order then the whole functioning becomes useless or disarranged. So still the need is there to get the head in order because – I have given some examples and I’ll give some more – the best is yet to come in this lecture – of how things are not philosophically in order in our movement. [...] We’re still at the stage of needing to get the brahmana order in proper shape.“

*social and spiritual classification

The leadership of this movement, of course, is the guru hoaxers, with ISKCON members getting guidance via their gurus and the GBC, who are also virtually all gurus! Obviously, if none of these leaders are even on the level of being brahmanas, the question of them acting as “good as God” diksa gurus does not even arise:

“And without becoming brahmana, nobody can become guru. That is also fact.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 13/12/1972)

And since BVKS himself has also represented the same deviated movement for so many years - the deviations he has decided to criticise now have been occurring for many years - he is just as complicit in this deviation, and this also renders him unfit to act as a “good as God” diksa guru. BVKS is, therefore, both charging the guru hoaxers as being the cause of all ISKCON’s deviations, and conceding they should not be posing as diksa gurus.

Solution 1 – Back To Prabhupada!

“my proposition which is no doubt controversial, is that ISKCON isn’t on track, so if you help that you’re not really helping anything […] the good news is that you still can follow Srila Prabhupada. Whatever anyone does to change this way and that way, Prabhupada’s books are still there, Prabhupada he knew. He put his books out. He said that even if everyone goes away, my books are there, and by reading the books people will again take it up.”

BVKS is here advocating exactly what the IRM states – that we should follow Srila Prabhupada by consulting and applying his orders as given directly by him, rather than following them via the medium of the current ISKCON institution, which as we just noted in the last section, means via the agency of the guru hoaxers.

Solution 2 – Copy BTP!

Just 2 years ago BVKS claimed that BTP was not spiritual because it contained criticism:

“So the main thing they’re doing in their magazine is… is…is just finding faults with Vaisnavas. They’re more concerned with that than in glorifying Krishna, which is what Prabhupada did. So how anyone can benefit from that I don’t know because benefit comes from glorifying Krishna and glorifying His devotees. Not from simply saying this is wrong, that is wrong. So we don’t find it very spiritual. The whole thing is just criticism.”
(BVKS Lecture, 9/2/2009)

Now he has done an amazing flip-flop, by not only agreeing that such criticism is required and engaging in it nonstop for 3 hours, but by also engaging in exactly the same criticisms found in BTP, stating that such criticism is needed in order to rectify matters:

PAD strikes again!

1) BVKS was very careful in his lecture, after having criticised everything else under the sun, to not directly speak one word against the guru hoax, and even adds:

“ritvik-vadis […] I’m not supporting that as a solution”

(Though as we have documented in the previous sections, despite his best efforts, he does actually end up inadvertently condemning the guru hoax and supporting the message of BTP as a solution).

2) Subsequently BVKS meekly followed the directions of the same GBC leadership he had condemned as being completely deviant, to remove his lecture from his website.

3) After removing his lecture, he also at that time stated that if he was actually honest he would leave the movement:

“I mean I can go on with what I’m doing within ISKCON, but I feel uncomfortable representing a movement in which there’s so many things which I disagree with, which I feel we’ve deviated from Prabhupada. So maybe I should just be honest and leave the movement.”

But he has decided to remain dishonest, not leave the movement, and instead continue representing what he claims is a deviated, bogus movement.

The reason for all these actions above is simple – BVKS is himself a fully-fledged guru hoaxer, and has had his nose in the same guru gravy-train trough with its disciples and attendant benefits, being worshipped as good as God, for 20 years. His actions, therefore, do not follow his words, since he does not wish to give up his position in any way, and therefore he has tried as best as possible to ensure that no matter what, his own personal guru hoax and disciple worship are not compromised in any way.

So having himself effectively condemned both his and everyone else’s eligibility to be a diksa guru, due to the desire for profit, adoration and distinction (PAD), just as explained in the previous article, he cannot act on his statements.


As we have demonstrated repeatedly, the same persons who initially were opposing our message, are being forced to concede and accept our position. Philosophically and intellectually the debate continues to be won, and the message of “Back To Prabhupada” continues to permeate to all levels of ISKCON and elsewhere. Unfortunately, due to the desire for PAD, and the Kaliyuga trait of hypocrisy, practical actions are still to follow the words.

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