ISKCON guru follows BTP’s lead: Update


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 36, Summer 2012

In BTP 33, we highlighted how ISKCON guru His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami had engaged in a huge climbdown by agreeing with the IRM that ISKCON is deviating in every major sphere (see “ISKCON Guru Follows BTP’s Lead”). We did this by analysing a public lecture he gave, in which he expressed this agreement. We also highlighted that despite this claim regarding ISKCON’s deviancy, he was unable to have any courage in his convictions and meekly surrendered to the demand of this same deviant ISKCON leadership to effectively silence his criticisms by withdrawing his lecture from public access on his website. However, shortly after BTP 33 was received worldwide, it appears that our exposé on his lack of backbone has finally stung Bhakti Vikasa Swami into taking more of a spirited stand.
On April 22nd, he issued the following public statement:

“In accord with Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, ISKCON continues to widely distribute his books, the Holy Name, and Krsna-prasada. However, apart from performing these laudable services, ISKCON has also incorporated policies that I strongly feel are not in line with Srila Prabhupada’s stated desires. […] Thus today ISKCON no longer adheres to many of the essential, non-negotiable principles Srila Prabhupada taught, for which I joined ISKCON and dedicated my life to spreading. […] I make this public statement: I do not support ISKCON’s pronounced tendency toward Hinduization and to secular influences such as those of bodily welfare work, mundane feminism, mundane psychology, and mundane scholarship. […] But as a follower of Srila Prabhupada and as a member of the sannyasa order, I have an obligation to communicate what I understand to be correct, according to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, to the members of ISKCON and especially to those who have formally reposed their faith in me as their spiritual guide. If I were to neglect this duty, I would add to the misguidance that many devotees now unofficially and officially receive in the name of Srila Prabhupada instead of protecting them from it.”

1) He states that although ISKCON may be engaging in what he considers to be bona fide practices such as distributing books, the Holy Name and prasada, they have deviated in regards to “many of the essential, non-negotiable principles Srila Prabhupada taught”. This echoes the theme of this issue that although Kali-chelas may partially undertake practices related to Krishna consciousness, we must look at the end result that is being achieved.

2) He states that, as a follower of Srila Prabhupada, he has an obligation to communicate to the rest of ISKCON what he thinks is correct in regards to their deviations. So here he is merely agreeing to finally do what the IRM has been doing for years!

3) He further repeats the same point we make regarding the danger of deviating in the guise of accepting Srila Prabhupada’s authority - stating that unless he speaks out, he will “add to the misguidance that many devotees now unofficially and officially receive in the name of Srila Prabhupada instead of protecting them from it”.

Bhakti Vikasa Swami continues to move towards adopting the same stance as that advocated by the IRM, even though as little as 3 years ago he criticised us for engaging in the same activity of pointing out where ISKCON is deviating (please see BTP 24, “The Divinity Delusion: Case Study of His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami”). This means that although it is Bhakti Vikasa Swami who claims to be sufficiently self-realised to be able to usurp Srila Prabhupada’s position as diksa guru of ISKCON, and thus be worshipped as a “good as God” guru for 20 years, he did not even “realise” that one should actually take a stand against ISKCON’s deviation until now; whereas the IRM, who do not claim any such realisation to succeed Srila Prabhupada, have understood this all along! This leads us to the matter of the “elephant in the room”. Having claimed that the entire leadership of ISKCON, the Governing Body Commission (GBC), does not even adhere to “many of the essential principles” taught by Srila Prabhupada, Bhakti Vikasa Swami still accepts that the same body which is deviating on such a mass scale is also qualified to both authorise and act themselves as bona fide diksa gurus. (2/3 of the GBC are “good as God” diksa gurus).

Bhakti Vikasa Swami also conveniently accepts that although the GBC are deviating in “many essential” areas, in terms of allowing themselves and Bhakti Vikasa Swami to retain lofty positions akin to the “sum total of the demigods”, they are spot on! He has to maintain such a huge compromise out of self-interest, otherwise his own position as a diksa guru would come under scrutiny - especially since his diksa guru position was granted to him by the same deviant GBC body. Rather, in line with the point made in this issue’s editorial, Bhakti Vikasa Swami has merely used his new “realisation” as a platform for maintaining his position, since he has now authored a new book for current and future disciples in which he purports to “teach” everyone the art of speaking strongly without “compromising”!

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