My further response

As Maharaja has quoted me, I wrote, “But if Srila Prabhupada is fallible in his own books, how could anything else he says in them be trusted?” I did not make the claim that “all that Prabhupada says” is true. This distinction matters because on the one hand it acknowledges that a guru even of Srila Prabhupada’s stature is not omniscient and, for example, might be mistaken about how the latest iPhone works. And on the other hand, it asserts that there are some domains in which Srila Prabhupada’s opinion should be considered infallible.

For example, in his own statements in his own books, it is self-evident that he is self-consciously speaking as a representative of our parampara. If what Srila Prabhupada says in his own books does not always faithfully represent our parampara siddhantas, then apasiddhantas are sometimes to be found in his books. This is what Maharaja’s 2005 paper on moral theology implies about Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 3.20.26. If it is the case that in Srila Prabhupada’s own books there are some utterances of his that are apasiddhanta, then it follows that Srila Prabhupada has no standing as a spiritual authority.[...] read more

Dharma as a Consequentialism

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.

Download full essay here: PDF | DOCX
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HH Hridayananda Goswami, Krishna West, and Consequentialism

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.)[...] read more

Deviant Vaisnava Sects Part Four: Sakhi Bekhi and Cuda Dhari

Sakhi is a term for the confidential girlfriends of Srimati Radharani. The word bekhi is a corruption of the Sanskrit word vesa, which means “dress.” A sakhi bekhi is a man or a woman who dresses like a gopi and imagines himself or herself to be enjoyed by Krsna.

Sakhi bekhis imitate rasa-lila, Krsna’s dance with the gopis, sometimes by dancing with a person dressed like Krsna who wears a cuda, a crown of peacock feathers. This person is called cuda dhari. The philosophy of these two types of sahajiya groups is the same. Practically the only difference is that one group dresses like gopis and the other like Krsna.[...] read more

Female Diksha Guru — some considerations

There is a definite “push” for a female diksha guru in ISKCON that is the proverbial “elephant in the room”, as the title of the recent article on Dandavats.com by Devaki Mataji alluded to.

The eagerness of a section of devotees to see a female blessed as diksha guru in ISKCON posthaste is akin “affirmative action” in the USA, as well as the reservation system for the backward classes here in India.  Call it “social engineering”, if you want.  The mood is “let’s have a token woman diksha guru” to affirm that women are equal to men in ISKCON. [...] read more

Why did Lord Rama kill Vali?

sugriva_valli1

This question is a concern to many people nowadays, to both those who believe and those who do not believe in Vedic history: Why did Lord Rama kill Vali, with whom He had no conflict, and moreover, why did He do so while hiding behind a tree?[...] read more

Rethinking Varnasrama

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Rethinking Varṇāśrama

How changing our current thinking on the utility of varṇāśrama-dharma can reconnect it with ISKCON’s overall preaching mission and solve some of ISKCON’s most troubling social problems.[...] read more

Aitihya—Tradition as Authority (part 1)

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Mukunda Datta dasa is a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada since 1976. He holds a graduate degree in South Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Washington, in Sanskrit and Braja-bhasa. He was made a charter member of the Sastric Advisory Council to the GBC (SAC). Based in Vrndavana (India) since 2003, he currently serves there as a translator for Giriraja Publications (a new division of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust).

Aitihya—Tradition as Authority (part 1)[...] read more