In some recent public statements, Hridayananda Maharaja questions the authenticity of the well-known pastimes of Yudhisthira Maharaja having gambled away his wife Draupadi in a match rigged by Shakuni. He also questions the attempted disrobing of Draupadi in the assembly of the Kurus. Given that these pastimes have been accepted by Srila Prabhupada and by other acharyas in our line, Maharaja’s statements have caused considerable disturbance. This is not the first time Maharaja has made controversial public statements, nor is it likely to be his last. But what is not well known is what these recent statements have in common with other controversial acts and statements made by him over the years. They are products of a world view that places the moral philosophy of consequentialism above all other forms of Vedic authority. Maharaja’s radical application of consequentialism to Krishna consciousness is a form of adharma called abhasa, and it accounts for the deep differences between him and Srila Prabhupada on diverse subjects ranging from Vedic authority and culture to fundamental sexual ethics. Due to efforts over many years by Maharaja and others to propagate this, virtually without impediment, there are now many devotees whose understanding and practice of Krishna consciousness from the very beginning has been formed around adharmic principles.
Dear Devotees, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Hridayananda Maharaja is a devotee who is widely revered and dear to many throughout ISKCON, but he has also said and done many controversial things over the years that have been cause for concern. Although the typical response to Maharaja’s controversial statements and actions has been to treat them as separate, one-off events without relation to each other, they are instead deeply connected by a moral philosophy called “consequentialism.” (In this regard, I have attached a paper that examines this issue in depth. One version is a PDF document, and the other is a Word document.)
As Maharaja explains in his 2005 paper titled “Vaisnava Moral Theology and Homosexuality,” consequentialism seeks “morality primarily in the consequences of acts” and “argues that moral behavior must produce good consequences.” Consequentialism is plainly operative in some of his more controversial statements:
CHENNAI: The conch and the Sudarshana Chakra are unmistakable. Although the figures do not match popular images of Kirshna sporting a peacock feather, archaeologists are convinced that the coins are of Krishna, revered as an avatar of Vishnu.
“These square coins, dating back to 180- BC, with Krishna on one side and Balram on the other, were unearthed recently in Al Khanoun in Afghanistan and are the earliest proof that Krishna was venerated as a god, and that the worship had spread beyond the Mathura region,” says T K V Rajan, archaeologist and founder-director, Indian Science Monitor, who is holding a five-day exhibition, In search of Lord Krishna,’ in the city from Saturday.
Having done extensive research in Brindavan, Rajan is convinced that a lot of the spiritual history of ancient India lies buried. “Close to 10,000 Greeks, who came in the wake of Alexander the Great, were Krishna’s devotees. There is an inscription by Heliodorus, the Greek ambassador at Takshila , which reads Deva, deva, Vasudeva. Krishna is my god and I have installed this Garuda Pillar at Bes Nagar (now in Bihar),'” says Rajan.