ISKCON’s Blind Vision


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 74, Vol. 3, 2022

ISKCON North America has compiled a "vision" document titled, "The 7 Purposes of ISKCON | A Vision Realized" ("7P"), in which they have outlined a "vision" for fulfilling Srila Prabhupada's purposes for ISKCON. All quotes in shaded boxes are from this document. All emphases added.

Rival books

As part of fulfilling Srila Prabhupada's second purpose for ISKCON, which is –

"To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagawat Gita and Srimad Bhagawatam."
(Certificate of Incorporation of ISKCON, 13/7/66)

7P claims that we will need many people writing and publishing books on spiritual subject matter:

"Many authors write books, both fiction and nonfiction, that are grounded in the principles of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, working to present these principles in a new light. [...] There is a major section in every public library for Vaishnava literature, and that is ever-expanding since devotees are constantly producing new books. [...] In every major language, every year, there are at least 100 new novels and 200 new non-fiction books related to Krishna consciousness."

1) But this was not Srila Prabhupada's instruction for ISKCON, to have many other books competing with his own books for people's time and attention. Nor did he ever state that we needed to present the principles of Krsna consciousness in a "new light" because his books did not yet shine enough light on their own. Rather, as we documented in BTP 67 article "Using Authorisation for Deviation – 2", Srila Prabhupada encouraged devotees to write articles for Back To Godhead magazine, instead of writing books:

"Regarding your proposal of writing a book [...] better you should utilize this God-given talent for writing articles for our Back To Godhead."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 15/7/69)

"it is better if you write articles, not books. [...] that can be printed in our Back to Godhead magazine."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 26/5/75)

2) Regarding fiction books, Srila Prabhupada stated in the Preface that he wrote his wonderful KRSNA book to wean people away from fiction:

"People love to read various kinds of fiction to spend their time and energy. Now this tendency can be directed to Krsna."

And he stated:

"We are not fiction writers."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 18/1/76)

Therefore, promoting the production of lots more fiction is not what Srila Prabhupada ordered.

Rival commentaries

Pursuant to this same second purpose for ISKCON, 7P claims that we will need many people writing their own "commentaries" to "clarify" the "previous commentaries" on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam:

"Many learned devotees also write commentaries on these books to clarify certain aspects of previous commentaries and to elucidate contemporary application of the concepts mentioned in these books."

Thus, it is offensively claimed that Srila Prabhupada's commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are not clear enough as it states that others will need to write many commentaries in order to "clarify" these "previous commentaries". But Srila Prabhupada never stated that his commentaries were unclear, and thus he never ordered anyone to write commentaries for the purpose of clarifying them. Hence, Srila Prabhupada, as the representative of Krsna, never gave the authority required for writing such commentaries on previous commentaries:

"Unless one is fully qualified in Vaisnava behavior and authorized by superior authority (the Supreme Personality of Godhead), one cannot write Vaisnava literatures or purports and commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita."
(Cc., Madhya-lila, 24.326, purport)

The above "vision" document is definitely a great vision for encouraging those desiring to be "scholars" and fiction writers, seeking to surpass Srila Prabhupada by attempting to write books to "clarify" and rival Srila Prabhupada's books by producing hundreds of other books every year for people to read rather than Srila Prabhupada's books. But it is nothing to do with Srila Prabhupada's own vision for ISKCON, that he himself gave. Yet, this is the blind "vision" displayed by ISKCON's leadership. In the Editorial, we began this issue by showing that ISKCON's leaders were moving away from Krsna consciousness itself, and now we end with showing them moving away also from Srila Prabhupada's books.

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