Bogus Kirtan is Bonafide According to Iskcon News AgencyBhakta Ashish (Anonymous writer)
So this Jai Uttal guy is a big big famous Mayavadi nonsense kirtaniya rockstar. I’m sure that most of us have heard of him. He feels the bhakti when he chants demigod mantra kirtans, he feels the bhakti when women throw themselves at him (because he’s a rockstar), he feels the bhakti when he is at the beach, watching T.V., and so on and so forth.
In fact, Mr. Uttal has so much generic bhakti for everything that Iskconnews.org, the official news website of Iskcon, decided to write an article promoting one of his albums. Mr.Uttal’s bhakti shakti is so powerful that he attracted some Iskcon devotees to his lotus feet and they rendered humble service to this maha bhakti super duper rockstar guru. Gaura Vani co-produced this album and Vishvambar Sheth contributed some drumming. This is all stated in the article on Iskcon News. Here is the link:
So who exactly is Jai Uttal and how do we know that he is a nonsense rascal? Well here is a screenshot of one of his recent Twitter posts:
And here is a screenshot of the home page of Mr. Uttal’s website:
So he says “Om Namah Shivaya” on Twitter and the home page of his website has a picture of Lord Brahma sitting on the lotus with the words “Jai Uttal’s House Of Bhakti” underneath him. So Mr. Uttal is your standard new-agey, neo-mayavadi, hodgepodge, etc. rascal kirtaniya rockstar. Everything is one. Just love everyone. You’re God. I’m God. The standard garbage. But wait; there’s more. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Mr. Uttal:
In 1992, Uttal released Monkey. The next year, in 1994, Beggars and Saints was released, which was a “tribute to the Bauls of Bengal.”
In February 2002, Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra released, on Narada Records, Mondo Rama, which means World is Rama or Everything is God.
“Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra”…wow. Anyway, so you see? “World is Rama”. “Everything is God”. The standard nonsense.
Mr. Uttal’s association with the “Bauls of Bengal” is confirmed by an article on another website:
Later he traveled to India where he was deeply inspired by the Bauls, the wandering street musicians of Bengal. Jai settled among them, communicating only through music, which ultimately helped establish his unique style.
Now for those readers who are newer to Krishna Consciousness, the Bauls are a group of sahajiyas (pseudo-devotees) that are categorized as an apa-sampradaya by our Acharyas. An apasampradaya is a deviant branch of Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose members have deviant/speculated practices and philosophies. Here is what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said about this topic:
In modern times Kali Maharaj, the personification of the present corrupted age, has assumed the false dress of a devotee of Sri Gaura. Sometimes he adopts the name sahajiya, or the name of an imitative cult such as aula, baula, neda, or nedi. With great intensity he propagates these false philosophies, as well as others opposed to the path of bhakti, such as Mayavada and gaura-nagari. Just see the influence of Kali Maharaj! Some say, “I am Gaurahari Himself,” some declare themselves exalted spiritual masters, some announce themselves as the creator, and others claim they are Lord Siva. They enthusiastically cheat human society by propagating bogus doctrines taught by Kali Maharaj. Pleased with their preaching, he blesses them and bestows upon them abundant wealth, women, and fame. Benumbed by their propaganda, the majority of people ignore suddha-bhakti and instead advance along the course of these new depraved philosophies grounded in material enjoyment. They become so intoxicated in this mundane pleasure as to be completely unaware of their ascending the peak of thorough self-destruction.
(From the poetic envoy to his Anuvrtti gloss on Sri Upadesamrta. I copied this excerpt from Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava pages 137-138))
For more information on this topic one can go to the book Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava by H.H. Bhakti Vikash Swami. In volume two there is a section which lists the major apa-sampradayas and describes them in detail. One can also read the Baul Sanghita of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, which is very beautiful and can be downloaded on Iskcon Desire tree.
This Iskcon News article also states that Uttal is a disciple of Mr. Neem Karoli Baba, who was also a rascal as confirmed by Srila Prabhupada:
Prabhupad: [break] …sentiment this Karoli Baba. Nim Karoli… Gurudāsa: Nim Karoli Baba.
Prabhupāda: What is that meaning, Nim Karoli?
Gurudāsa: I don’t know? [break]
Prabhupāda: …it is very difficult to wash it. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said, māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva nāśa. One who once hears māyāvādi, māyāvādi-bhāṣya, he is doomed. His life is spoiled.
(Conversation Oct, 31 1973)
Guest (1): I’m learning. I’m learning love. It’s, Mahārāja…, this Nim Karoli Baba, has told us that love, love of God is the highest.
Prabhupāda: But love, if you have no form, where to love? The air? (Later on during the same conversation):
Guest (1): He says that… Yes. He is a great bhakta of Hanumānjī. Prabhupāda: Who is Hanumān?
Guest (1): Hanumān is the breath of Rāma.
Guest (1): The breath of Rāma, śvāsa. Rāma-ke-śvāsa, breath of Rāma. Prabhupāda: Breath?
Guest (1): The breath. Hanumān was the… Rāma, Rāma once asked Hanumān, “What do you see? How do you see Me?” and Hanumān answered, “When I know who I am, You and I are one, and when I forget who I am, then I serve You.” Prabhupāda: That’s so nonsense. (Conversation Feb, 13 1974)
In case for whatever crazy reason one doesn’t believe the assessment of Prabhupada, here is a nice nonsense quote from Mr. Neem Baba himself that confirms his nonsensical position:
“Love is God. See no differences. Love all the same way.” (www.nkbashram.org)
And here is a nice happy picture of Mr. Uttal and Mr. Gaura Vani performing kirtan (maybe to Durga) on the banks of the Ganga:
This sadhu on the right-hand side of the photo does not appear to be wearing Vaishnava tilak, and Mr. Vani is not wearing tilak at all. But everything is ok because they are following their heart. Here are some relevant verses spoken by Lord Chaitanya recorded in Chaitanya Charitamrita:
A Vaiṣṇava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaiṣṇavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. (Madhya Ch 22 verse 87)
It is better to accept the miseries of being encaged within bars and surrounded by burning flames than to associate with those bereft of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such association is a very great hardship. One should not even see those who are bereft of devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and who are therefore devoid of pious activities. (Madhya Ch 22 verses 91-92)
So in conclusion, what Mr. Uttal, Mr. Sheth and Mr. Vani do with their lives is none of my business, however this Three Stooges nonsense should not be promoted by the GBC. Anuttama Das, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is the senior editor of Iskcon news and has been the official Iskcon International Director of Communications for twenty years according to his profile on the GBC home website ( www.gbc.iskcon.org ). This article was published presumably under his approval.
Vishvambar Sheth was also chosen by the GBC to represent the modern “Hare Krishna” on the cover of the official Iskcon 50th anniversary magazine; observe:
Yet he is collaborating with nonsense new-agers on their albums, and on the Mayapuris’ album “Mridanga” we can see that they have their own Shiva “kirtan” (track 4):
One can go to Youtube to confirm that this track indeed consists of the chanting of a Shiva mantra.
I would humbly propose that the GBC not promote devotees who do not discriminate with their association. Devotees who are clearly associating with mayavadis, bogus gurus, new-agey kirtaniya rockstars, etc. should not be promoted as role models in our society. Devotees who chant demigod mantras in so-called kirtan also should not be promoted. It is also completely nuts to promote a new-agey, neo-mayavadi kirtaniya rockstar on the official news website of Iskcon.
This is my understanding of the situation according to what I have heard from Srila Prabhupada and the Acharyas. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.