My review of “Beyond Institutional Gurus, Initiations, And Party Men”

My review of “Beyond Institutional Gurus, Initiations, And Party Men”

Wow, I just finished reading Kailasa Candra’s new book “Beyond Institutional Gurus, Initiations, And Party Men”

My impressions are overwhelmingly positive.

I almost forgot how uncompromised preacher sounds like. Due to associating with ISKCON corporate gurus for many years, I almost forgot how real Krishna conscious person sounds like. Kailasa Candra das compares real Krishna consciousness with today’s ISKCON.

In the last couple of years, I studied ISKCON history a lot with special emphasis on ISKCON corporate guru ideology. How it came about, how it mutated to a Gestapo organization. And I also wrote many articles about it. But Kailasa Candra das is in a much better position to explain the whole story because he actually lived through it. He was a friend of Sulocana, he helped him write his book called “Guru business“.

In his books, Kailasa Candra destroys all three major sahajiya deviations which happened after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, namely Rtviks, Neo-Gaudiya Math and the “ISKCON” corporation.

Not that Kailasa Candra das is only well-versed in real Krishna consciousness, he is also a talented writer. He is also very brave, since here is fighting a fake “ISKCON” organization for over 40 years. He is also obviously not materially motivated, and not interested to sell cheap Krishna consciousness. Only rare people are able to see beyond ISKCON circus, and thus he might never have a huge number of followers like ISKCON “guru” who likes to parade girls through the cities.

Here are some of the quotes which show what can you expect to find in the book:

About salaries and ISKCON economy:

The “ISKCON” movement has never developed an internal national or international economic structure, despite the fact that it is run like a business—with temple presidents and other leaders drawing fantastic salaries, etc. The idea of salaries would have been anathema during the Sixties and Seventies, but it now fits in well with the cult’s current tactics for maintaining the brand it favors. With little or no employment opportunities present in the movement, devotees who want to remain inmates must, more or less, be completely surrendered to the powerful, salaried leader who runs the local operation of their choice.

About mission drift:

In this spiritual war, where His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda has, in effect, now been put on trial, the fundamental values of his contribution to humanity have been strained; indeed, they are in danger of being lost. Identifying with “ISKCON” means, at the core level, to self-identify with a mission that, as time rolls on, is more and more opposed to him. This is also the case when it comes to the rittviks and Neo-Mutt. The genuinely initiated disciples of the Sampradāya Ācārya are, therefore, obliged to reaffirm their commitment to him and to his teachings—and only to him and his teachings. Fight the good fight and do not fall victim to pragmatic considerations that offer only illusory, short-term results. If you actually have this attitude, confrontation with deviations is unavoidable . . . and that is wanted.

About “pleasing the public”:

Pragmatism necessitates that truth is made real only by empirical (or apparent) verification, i.e., if the philosophy—and action according to it—pays off. In that philosophy, there are not universal truths that hold true in all circumstances. If any idea is proposed, that idea is made true when events show that it has become materially demonstrable as a working reality. The Party Men are profoundly skeptical of any teaching, knowledge or wisdom—even if it is received through Prabhupāda’s books and the guru-paramparā—if that teaching does not produce material results. These results, of course, must what they desire.

About Jayadvaita’s book editing:

However, after Prabhupāda left us, one of the first-echelon Party Men achieved G.B.C. approval to re-edit all of the books. While correcting what required correction (although he still missed even some of those), he has also engaged in a massive editing campaign that has actually changed the wording of the original writings in hundreds if not thousands of places. Many of these changes were uncalled-for, and many more were simply choices that were not necessitated by the syntax of the text itself. Over and above this, many of the changes jeopardized the original meaning that could otherwise be gleaned according to Prabhupāda’s intention. The original authority of the books has been considerably gutted in all of these publications. The spiritual devastation for new readers and new devotees that this has produced is immeasurable, and there is not a scintilla of exaggeration in this statement. It is on the vitiated G.B.C., but the Party Men all share in culpability for allowing Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books to be changed and not making any protest.

About imagined “guru approval process”:

In effect, you could make a motion to the governing body as to your desire to become a recognized guru of “ISKCON.” As long as there were not three commissioners against you, your motion passed. Soon, this process also received warranted criticism. As such, another fix-it-as-you-go modification was concocted: The No-Objection Certificate, which is current to this day. As per this “adjustment,” the prospective institutional guru makes his proposal and receives a recommendation, and the vitiated G.B.C. decides upon a waiting period for him (usually one to three years). Then, if he keeps his nose clean and remains loyal, it issues a No Objection Certification, i.e., he becomes institutionalized guru by Commission imprimatur.

Kailasa Candra also defeats all arguments used by members of ISKCON cult to fight opposition:

Similarly, there was another devastator that was used effectively throughout both that period and especially during the years just previous to it. That one was: “But what have you done for Śrīla Prabhupāda?” When devotees would criticize what was going on in “ISKCON,” its gurus and Party Men would respond with this retort. They would take cumulative credit for whatever accomplishments had been garnered by the movement in the form of “laxmī,” new temples, new devotees, etc. They would combine that with a personal offense to the critic—despite the fact, as often as not, that the devotee was justified in his or her criticism. The Party Man would demand to know what results the critic had produced within the arena of “ISKCON.” Of course, if you did not at all believe in what “ISKCON” was doing, you would have no such results to reference. You would have left the institution or would have been kicked out for being outspoken about its dreadful flaws.

About freedom from “ISKCON tyrant authorities”:

There was an ever-increasing exodus of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples from “ISKCON” in order to take their chances in the outside world, trying to prosecute Kṛṣṇa conscious activities, preaching, and sādhana as best they could “outside the walls.” The question may be broached as to how all of this hell could have gone on when, at least initially, the movement had been directly connected to the Supreme Universal Controller, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Ultimate Overseer. This question may be justly raised. Many very bad things happened to devotees both within and without the “ISKCON” faction after Prabhupāda disappeared, but there were also some silver linings provided after he left us. These should be recognized. One of the big silver linings was new-found freedom from all of the little tyrants inside those institutional walls.

About all the crimes performed by “pure devotees” in the eighties:

When the Party Men took over the movement, their more charismatic and flamboyant section, the eleven pretender mahā-bhāgavats, considered themselves all-powerful. They considered themselves no longer under man-made laws, in the sense that there was no applicability of these in relation to them. And, as allegedly the embodiment of all the demigods, the zonals also believed that they could transgress many laws of Nature, and they did just that.

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