Supporting Current-day ISKCON


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 67, Vol 3, 2020, Interactive

This letter is from Joan DeLisio, from New York, USA, with our replies interspersed.

"Hare Krsna, Prabhu,
I've been getting your magazine for a long time and have appreciated the well written words of wisdom; however, I have never been able to fully embrace any group that is firmly against ISKCON as many of us came to the path via ISKCON, we have friends who live in temples still, and we even like to visit on occasion. I'm not sure about IRM but there are some pockets of angry devotees who want to see the whole institution crumble and see any support of the institution as wrong, due to all the abuse of power that has occurred."

1) The IRM is short for ISKCON Revival Movement. Thus, we wish to see ISKCON revived to a state where it is following Srila Prabhupada's instructions and Srila Prabhupada is restored as its sole diksa guru. Please see our mission statement on page 2.

2) The current institution differs from the institution Srila Prabhupada founded, with him having now been removed from his position as ISKCON's diksa guru and many other deviations taking place, as we document in every BTP issue. (See for example BTP 50, "ISKCON at 50: Not Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON"). Thus, supporting the current institution would not be supporting Srila Prabhupada's original institution. Srila Prabhupada's instructions to associate with ISKCON referred to the movement he established, where he was the sole spiritual master and everyone was operating only under his instructions and authority.

"But what about the sincere devotees who serve within temples, and the fact that some people are still introduced to Krsna at these temples? Some senior devotees have served there for decades, and would have a lot of distress if the temples had to close, as they only know temple life and do not have any other career. I DO understand the disgust and/or anger towards the institution, especially by those who were abused as children in schools there by "wolves in sheep's clothing". Many have suffered acutely after being disappointed by people who posed as gurus, and with temple leaders who only cared about raising money, etc. There are thousands of disturbing stories behind many of the devotees who left ISKCON after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada.
But the difficult question is, would Srila Prabhupada want to see his hard work collect dust and gradually fade, due to so many staying away and refusing to support temples in any way?"

3) As noted, the current temples are deviated, with all devotees and newcomers being funnelled toward initiation from the 80-odd GBC gurus, and thus led away from Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet. The best way to help such persons is to share with them the truth about Srila Prabhupada so that they may take to true devotional service.

4) Since the current temples do not support Srila Prabhupada, but instead the deviated GBC, its unauthorised gurus, and various deviations, if we support them then we would also be supporting such deviation:

"the result of an action is equally shared by its doer, its director and its supporter."
(SB, 4.21.26)

Clearly one should not support disobedience to the guru, which is considered the most grievous offense:

"First offense is guror avajna, defying the authority of guru. This is the first offense. [...] If one is disobeying the spiritual master [...] He cannot be siksa guru or anything else. He is finished, immediately."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 4/7/74)

Hence, it is better to avoid the spiritual damage to oneself which may result from supporting temples that are offending Srila Prabhupada, even if not being able to associate with deviated temples may cause one some material distress.

"What about all of the Deities? It is sad to think of Them being neglected in the future."

5) Unfortunately, ISKCON temples today have become commercial enterprises by which the residents can earn their livelihood. As GBC voted-in guru HH Jayadvaita Swami admitted:

"ISKCON has gone from being beyond Hinduism to being – very much Hindu! [...] congregational members are encouraged to send their donations and get the blessings of the Lord and their names on plaques."
(HH Jayadvaita Swami, ISKCON Studies Conference, 28/7/07)

And Srila Prabhupada stated that temples operated for collecting money via Deity worship for persons to maintain themselves, leads to the puja (worship) going to hell:

"The pujaris were given in Vrndavana the temple, and they made it a source of income. Just like the gosais are doing. [...] Gradually their puja will go to hell. They'll gradually glide down how to maintain family by showing the Deity."
(Room Conversation, 17/7/77, all emphases in Interactive added)

Thus, the Deities are already being neglected due to deviations from Srila Prabhupada's instructions.

"Many devotees have been banned by temple authorities just for standing for the truth. That may happen to any of us, maybe even to me after finally having courage to allow my name to be printed here! But what about those of us who are not yet banned?
It seems it is better to go there to serve the Deity and Srila Prabhupada however we can, and if we hear something "off" in a lecture, to respectfully defend the truth. Prabhu, I'm not sure of your outlook on this point, and I would like to know what you think."

6) One should not listen to classes from deviants, period:

"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has warned that "Don't mix it with Vaisnava who is not well trained up, well behaved." [...] "You should not hear." "Eh? What is the wrong there? The Krsna-katha is there." No, Krsna-katha is there just like milk is there, but if it is touched by the lips of a serpent, it is no more to be taken. It has become poison. So unless one is situated as pure Vaisnava in his dealing, in his behavior, inside and outside, he should not become a preacher because it will not be effective; neither one should hear from such person."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6/3/76)

Thus, the best way to serve and defend the truth is to directly warn everyone about the realities regarding present-day ISKCON so that they are not misled, and instead can engage in true devotional service.

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Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!