Also see Mission Drift.
In 2001, Sripad Jayadavaita Swami gave a lecture series titled “Food for Death”, which is still available on his website at http://www.jswami.info/seminars#food and which examined how prasadam distribution seen by the public as ordinary welfare work affects ISKCON’s core values. Sripad Bhakti Vikasa Swami in his 2011 lectures titled “Some Concerns About ISKCON” and “Further Discussion on Concerns About ISKCON” addresses the same issue Jayadvaita Swami addressed but in a more generalized context that includes other welfare initiatives. Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja in his lectures also addresses what he identifies as fundamental, philosophical differences that have emerged within our society.
As far as social welfare is concerned, the lectures of both Swamis make a common point: the time and resources devotees increasingly give to indirect preaching in the form of welfare work, at the expense of direct preaching, reflects ISKCON’s growing acceptance of karma-kanda as a part of its core mission and, hence, core values.
Mission drift and Vyasa’s dissatisfaction
That as grand a spiritual institution as ISKCON could itself become mundane is not a new idea. In the Bhagavad-gita at the beginning of the 4th chapter, Krishna describes the system of the guru-parampara and how, in the course of time, the succession had been broken and the knowledge of the science of yoga was lost. On some occasions, Srila Prabhupada himself said that ISKCON could be destroyed not by outsiders but by insiders. Such changes are the result of a gradual drift of the disciplic succession away from its original message and mission.
Dear followers of Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
As I see it ISKCON is at a crucial juncture in its history. ‘Who is the head or captain of the ISKCON ship?’ Shall we choose the ISKCON Governing Body (GBC) or shall we choose our ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, (Srila Prabhupada)?
Srirangam, the largest functional temple in the world at 156 acres is the seat of the Sri Vaisnava sampradaya and the first and most important of the Sri Vaisnava 108 Divya desams. The Deity of Ranganatha Swami and the Vimaana on the temple are Svayambhu (self-manifested) having come directly from the milk ocean where Ksirodakshayi Visnu reclines on Ananta Sesa. Sri Ramanujacarya the acarya of the Si Vaisnava sampradaya resided here for many years and his actual transcendental form is still kept embalmed in a Samadhi in the southeastern part of the temple complex.
This is also the place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spent the most time after Navadvipa and Jagannatha Puri. Sri Gopal Bhatta Goswami of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana came from Srirangam; it was in his house that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu resided in during the four months of caturmasya that He stayed here. Gopal Bhatta Goswami’s descendants are still present there.
When I arrived Saturday night with my sankirtan van at the temple, I wondered where the others were. The parking lot was empty, and I thought nobody could distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books that long. By that time, our meditation on Srila Prabhupada intensified in the form of endless book distribution marathons, as we had heard about His Divine Grace laying down in Vrndavana and fasting for a month. Yes! One time, a few crumbs of prasadam arrived in the mail, the maha maha of the only kachori He ate. And these precious remnants were carefully distributed in microscopic size from one devotee to another.
Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said that the only thing keeping Him alive is the distribution of His books. Nobody could imagine Srila Prabhupada leaving us behind at this stage. And His statement “whenever I read the sankirtan results I feel like a young boy” drove us to higher and higher book distribution results. Whenever we presented Srila Prabhupada the new results, He commented. “Double it!” Some devotee even printed buttons to be carried on our chest with one single slogan: “Double it!” And so we doubled it again. One marathon followed the other in a desperate attempt to keep Srila Prabhupada with us. The German yatra was at this time on the top of the world.
While looking for somebody and parking my car, finally, I saw someone. The last remaining devotee ran out of the temple door and told me the news: “Srila Prabhupada is in London!” I couldn’t believe it. How did He get there, rising from His bed, fasting?
Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD-Disingenuous)
HPD Definition: People with Histrionic Personality Disorder have a high need for attention, make loud and inappropriate appearances, exaggerate their behaviors and emotions, and crave stimulation.
Disingenuous: Underhanded, double-dealing, scheming, contriving, plotting, crafty, false-hearted; egocentric, insincere, deceitful, calculating, guileful.
Liar, liar, pants on fire? Besides being an extremely juvenile expression, this reaction is way too disproportional and exaggerated for the stimulus that that triggered it;When this type of response is stacked up on top of all the other bazaar, twisted, and disingenuous things we have thus uncovered in this paper, it all starts to look like the classic symptoms of someone suffering from a Histrionic Personality Disorder.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The glaring proof that none of the prestidigitations we are being offered is legitimate is that, if it was, a court case would have been filed a long time ago. Those perpetuating this myth know all too well that these tales of who-done-it, intrigue would never survive the scrutiny of a good defense attorney. When it all gets thrown out in court the charade would fall apart, and that would be an abrupt end for everyone, that is, except the eccentrics pushing their real agenda to create perpetual chaos that only an unresolved dispute could generate.
So here I will provide a few more reasons to not lose any more sleep about this stupid allegation that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned by men he trusted, men who loved him dearly. Yes, it’s easy to throw together some doubts – and “ya” know what – in the real world that’s all one has to do to crush all of these dark, contemptuous tales of egos gone wild.
Our legal system assumes that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proving guilt rests completely on those that allege a crime has been committed. If someone is accused of murder, they have a right to a jury trial – that is the normal procedure. To get a conviction for murder requires a unanimous decision of all 12 jurors who are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged crime has been committed. If circumstantial evidence suggests a possibility of innocence, the prosecution has the burden of disproving that possibility.
I arrived in Kolkata on the 17th of November to offer a two-day seminar for the ladies over the weekend. The local devotees had chosen the topic “Being a Homemaker: Honor or Disgrace?” – a highly relevant subject for the young generation of ladies in modern India.
We had dedicated the entire Saturday and Sunday for this seminar – with a morning and afternoon session, and the temple provided the lunch prasadam for all participants. More than one hundred ladies eagerly participated, and we conducted the event in a spacious flat near the temple. I had compiled course materials, which were also translated into Bengali and Hindi. In this way we could welcome a maximum of participants, offering simultaneous translation into Hindi and Bengali.
I have certainly noticed, that the young generation of ladies in India are very eager for a professional career, thinking it to be great progress for a woman to enter the work force and earn money. Even amongst practicing devotees I have observed a strong trend towards economic development and material progress being the main and foremost goal in life. In a country like India, where spiritual traditions had been strictly maintained until recent days, it indeed seems so appealing and progressive for young ladies to abandon these seemingly old-fashioned customs of ladies being mainly engaged in the home taking care of the husband and children. Thus the ladies in India are now dreaming of becoming independent career women, and it appears all so attractive and glittering!
Tamal Krishna Goswami was indeed a complex, intense, and high profile personality but he also had a soft side that I personally got to know as did many others. Certainly, his numerous disciples don’t experience him to be the terrible monster that he is portrayed as by the oh-so-righteous Poop Team. Many people discovered the softer side of Tamal as the reactions he got from his more brazen earlier years caught up to him and as he entered into deeper realms of spiritual consciousness. Others may not have known the softer side of Tamal but he kept returning to Srila Prabhupada for shelter, guidance, encouragement, and survival. Many others can testify that but we see no acknowledgment of any of this by this self-congratulating brahminically equipoised Truth Committee. NO. What we find in their report is a crucifixion.
On several occasions, Tamal gives us a peek into the terribly difficult types of dilemmas he had to cope with while serving Srila Prabhupada and the stress he was under.
‘Srila Prabhupada said: My feet are swelling, my teeth are getting loose, I am passing urine too frequently. These are the first signs that death is coming.’
Some Were Curious, Some Were Crazy!
As the symptoms of Srila Prabhupada’s physical body began to impede on his ability to translate, all his disciples worldwide became more concerned about his longevity. We had become so dependent on his guidance, inspiration, and Krishna Conscious nurturing that the thought of His Divine Grace leaving us was of great concern to every devotee in the Hare Krishna movement. Many of us were requested to keep doing our daily duties. Book distribution had to still go on, guests had to be greeted, feasts had to be cooked, deities had to be worshiped and the temples had to stay open.
Those who met Srila Prabhupada in the very early days of the late 1960’s had already established a very intimate relationship with him on a deep level many of us who came later never had the good fortune to experience. We are all unique individuals and as the world learned about Srila Prabhupada, all sorts of characters showed up to see what he was doing. Some were curious, some were serious, some left, some stayed, some got initiated, some fell down, some soared to the top and some were crazy. Tamal Krishna was one of those who seemed to understand very quickly the concept of going after Krishna with the intense greed Ramananda Roy spoke about:
“‘Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.'”- Madhya 8.70