Why Preach to ISKCON?


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 78, 2023, Interactive

"Why do you think Prabhupada did not elect amongst the 11 original Rtviks some other devotees who would have followed his actual orders? As their guru, he must have known who they were and had insight into their devotional desires, or were the original 11 Rtviks just the best of a bad bunch of his disciples?
I would like to know that if Prabhupada had selected some of the present day IRM people to be Rtviks back then, could you honestly say that you would have not gone down the path of the original 11?
I am wondering why you try to distribute Back To Prabhupada at ISKCON festivals which according to yourself have deviated from Prabhupada's mission and are more likely to elicit rage and anger than a receptive audience?
If we were to follow Prabhupada's example when his spiritual master's mission was taken over by deviating disciples, Prabhupada did not go to the temples and festivals of his deviant Godbrothers but instead went out amongst the yet to be devotees. Do you have any temples or major festivals at which you can attract conditioned souls?
- Visvareta Dasa, Brisbane, Australia

Editor replies:

1) We cannot speculate as to why Srila Prabhupada may have taken an action. What we know is that when he was selecting the rtviks, he selected from those who were "senior sannyasis":

Srila Prabhupada: "the senior sannyasis..."
Tamala Krsna: "So they should continue to..."
Srila Prabhupada: "You can give me a list of sannyasis. I will mark who will..."
(Room Conversation, 7/7/77)

Given the propensity for any conditioned soul to make mistakes and cheat (which are two of the 4 defects of the conditioned soul), it would appear that Srila Prabhupada decided to therefore simply pick from the most senior men.

2) As to whether or not IRM members would have deviated like the 11 rtviks did, one can simply say that being conditioned souls we cannot guarantee that we would not have deviated if placed in the same position.

3) You ask why we preach amongst ISKCON devotees who may not be receptive to our message. Because we have to try to help them see the truth about Srila Prabhupada's orders, since many of them did join the movement due to being attracted by Srila Prabhupada's teachings. And thus, at least in theory, they are seriously interested in Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Therefore, they, probably more than anyone else, deserve to at least be given the opportunity to come to know about these teachings in their original true form. And we have found that some have ended up appreciating the message.

4) Srila Prabhupada established Lord Caitanya's movement in the form of ISKCON because he had been ordered by his spiritual master to do so. But we are not Srila Prabhupada. In the last issue's Interactive section, we answered at length the question of why the IRM concentrates on preaching within ISKCON to devotees rather than the general public. We refer you to that answer given to Nadia Prakash Dasa, of Varna, Bulgaria. We note that you categorise preaching to the public as being preaching to the "conditioned souls". However, those persons who are being misled within ISKCON are also conditioned souls!

Propagating Krsna Consciousness

"Stop the BTP magazine and use that money to propagating Krsna consciousness."
- Paramasamy Premasiri, London, UK

Editor replies:

1) You are under the mistaken understanding that the information which BTP contains is not part of Krsna consciousness, and therefore we should use our resources for "propagating Krsna consciousness" instead of on BTP. This information, technically called guru-tattva, or the truth about the guru, is not only very much part of Krsna consciousness, but actually the very first step in Krsna consciousness, without which one cannot even begin Krsna consciousness. Without knowing who the guru is, and how one should serve him, one cannot move forward in Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada established that every morning one must chant the Gurvastakam prayers to the spiritual master. And, indeed, in every ISKCON temple these prayers are still chanted every morning. Verse 8 of these prayers states:

"By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement."
(Emphasis added)

2) BTP is dedicated to ensuring that such mercy from Srila Prabhupada is made possible, by:

a) Establishing that Srila Prabhupada is that spiritual master whom one must accept and worship;

b) Presenting his teachings in their unchanged form;

c) Combatting deviations away from Srila Prabhupada's teachings, which are insidiously being presented as actually being Srila Prabhupada's teachings.

By doing these things, it is possible for people to not be misled away from Srila Prabhupada's teachings and thus be eligible for receiving his mercy. Which in turn will enable one to advance in Krsna consciousness. Otherwise, without receiving this mercy, it is not possible to make any progress in Krsna consciousness. Therefore, BTP is definitely, at least in theory, very much contributing to Krsna consciousness – unless of course you can show that BTP does not engage in activities a) to c) above. But you have not even attempted to do this.

3) It is because you have not understood guru-tattva that you are thinking that BTP is not part of Krsna consciousness. But because you have not understood guru-tattva is exactly the reason why you very much need BTP!

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