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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya

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[Posted April 20, 2007]

Krishna Conscious Social System


Prabhupada das Karapurnam

Since the departure of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada in 1977, there has been a gradual breakdown in the ability of his disciples to understand and follow his instructions in a cooperative, unified manner. Most of his disciples left ISKCON shortly after his departure and were replaced by disciples of the successor guru regime. The ISKCON GBC, infatuated with it's position of "Supreme Managing Authority," has neglected many essential instructions of the founder and fabricated many of their own. These deletions and fabrications have gradually transformed ISKCON into something much different than intended by Srila Prabhupada.

Those disciples who left ISKCON fall into several categories, as follows:

1. Many who left fell away entirely to return to whatever it was they were doing before being contacted to become participants in the Mission.

2. The majority have become "Ordinary Vaishnavas" who do not live in a Devotional Community, chant 16 rounds, follow the regulative principles strictly or attend morning and evening deity services and classes. Instead of being sustained by the pure devotional activities offered in a Devotional Community, they have been forced to perform fruitive work that supports the non-Vaishnava social system. Although they retain a "sentimental attachment" to Vaishnava Philosophy, in most cases, they are unable to follow the basic requirements of Hari Nama and Diksha Initiation, what to speak of engage productively in the establishement of an alternative social system. Among the Ordinary Vaishnava's are many who were abused in various ways by individuals in positions of responsibility and trust in ISKCON. So strong is the illusion in this category that the admonishments of Sri Chaitanya, Sanatana, Rupa, and, in fact all Acharyas, that devotees are to strictly avoid contact with materialists has all but been forgotten. It has been seen that even initiating spiritual masters have become professors at mundane universities and dozens of newly initiated disciples have been encouraged to get a degree and take up a dignified profession among the non-devotees.

3. Of the "Ordinary Vaishnavas," some have become "activists" by way of establishing websites and forums that criticize and challenge ISKCON, The Gaudiya Math, Guru Fiefdoms and Individual Vaishnavas who do not come to the standards they assume everyone must follow. Those who do not have their own website or forum make contributions to those who do. This cavalcade of contentious activism has expanded to include Westerners who have become associated with Vaishnava individuals and organizations outside the Parampara of Srila Bhaktivinode. An amazing feature of the "Activist Cadre" is that, despite 30 years of contentious interaction in the form of criticism, challenge and speculation, nothing has changed on the landscape. There has not been the opening of one Devotional Community that can purport to understand and actually embody the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivinode.

4. Some of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, who were able to maintain a higher standard of sadhana have become initiating spiritual masters in their own "Guru Fiefdoms." To do this, outside the instructions of both Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Prabhupada, they took the cue of Srila Prabhupada's Godbrothers who disbanded The Gaudiya Math Society and divided it among themselves after the departure of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. It is common knowledge that both Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada desired the establishment of a GBC to cooperatively conduct the Mission. Their rationale is erroneously based on the idea of "Unity In Diversity" which is somehow twisted to supercede the instructions of two recent Sampradaya Acharyas: to conduct the Mission of Sri Chaitanya in a unified and cooperative manner. A careful analysis of the Guru Fiefdoms also shows a glaring deficiency in the creation of Devotional Communities that purport to understand and actually embody the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivinode.

Of course, "everyone" says they understand the instructions of the Acharyas and they all assert that their particular "organization" is a full embodiment of the "siddhanta" of the Sampradaya. The fact is, however, that each separate unit has taken only "some" of the instructions and established them as "all" of the instructions. The science and logic is: if both Acharyas instructed the formation of a GBC for cooperative preaching and that has not happened, then, the assembled devotees would be seen to be making a very serious effort to do so. If there is no concerted effort to come under the protection of this instruction, two conclusions can be drawn:

1. The instructions were never or are no longer valid and the new idea of "Unity In Diversity Without Community" now prevails so that no one is obligated to cooperate, or, all cooperation must be unto a Guru Fiefdom, Multi-Guru Organization or by Individual Vaishnava's alone. Everyone wants to be known as "Acharya" and no one wants to be seen as "Regular Guru." In this scenario who is the new authority that can say that these instructions have been repealed and are no longer part of the Mission Instructions?

2. The Gaudiya Vaishnava People in the Parampara of Srila Bhaktivinode are deeply conditioned and thus immature and unable to understand these instructions. In this condition they may also be susceptible to accepting the limited understanding of certain Fief Gurus, Multi-Guru Organizations or Individual Vaishnavas posing as the "Authentic Representative" of the Sampradaya and Parampara.

The interesting fact is that Srila Prabhupada presented over 960 pages of information and instructions for the creation of a network of Urban and Rural Devotional Communities, in the form of Villages. These Villages and their corresponding Urban Communities were to be established on the principle of the synthesis of Varnashram Dharma with Bhakti Yoga. At each center was supposed to be a Varnashram College designed to train not only the devotees but anyone to render pure devotional service from the platform of varna and ashram, in community. This idea was originated by Srila Bhaktivinode and begun by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in The Gaudiya Math, where he established the Sannyasa Ashram. Srila Prabhupada continued the process with the establishment of the Grihastha Ashram, Gurukula and several Rural Communities. The underlying principle of this is: "Diversity In Unity Within Community."

The "Varnashram Teachings" of Srila Bhaktivinode, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada have been sorely neglected, although they are the "Primary Mission Instructions." For some reason, devotees like to select a "personal favorite" instruction and devote their lives to that; a "Subsidiary Mission Instruction". From this we find great and sometimes over-emphasis on Hari Nam, book distribution, prasadam distribution, deity worship, personal sadhana, scholarship, cow protection, mega-temple construction and so many "sub-categories" of the Primary Mission Instructions. There have been many attempts to set up communties based on "Subsidiary Mission Instructions" but none have been able to attract or sustain devotees who do not subscribe to the subsidiary mission. At one time the attempt was made to make ISKCON a "Book Distribution Movement," with disasterous results ending in turning Brahmanas into salesmen of candles, rugs, painting, scarves and other such "parapernalia". The focus on book distribution became so intense that the movements children were abandoned to a gurukula system full of child molesters. Others, who were not sankirtan material, were branded as "stay-backs", ridiculed and made to feel their service was insignificant. The record shows many other aberrations coming from neglect to establish the "Primary Mission Instructions" such that all devotees of any level of interest, talent and capacity could be engaged in pure devotional service with full validation.

What we have yet to see is a concerted effort to design a Varnashram based social system that is capable of supporting "all devotees" according to their Natural Order interests, talents and capacities. To do this, Varnashram divisions must be synthesized with Bhakti-yoga. To do this, there "MUST" be Varnashram Villages that can produce the food and commodities necessary to permit all devotees to live within the practice of pure devotional service without contaminating contact with the surrounding mundane social system.

From the point of view of these Varnashram Teachings, it is a greatly sinful action to induce devotees to get a degree and work among the non-Vaishnava population, to, in effect, assist them in the expansion of mundane exploitation of the Earths resources. It is further sinful to cultivate a congregation in the name of Nama Hatta and induce them to remain addicted to fruitive work so they can support the full time service of a hand full of devotees taking shelter in the Temple. The record shows again and again that most devotees working among the materialists, outside the protection of a Devotional Community, are absolutely unable to sustain basic sadhana, regulative principles and the required AM/PM Program.

The Mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is to engage all humans in pure devotional service, devoid of fruitive work, via the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. The Mission of Srila Bhaktivinode, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivedanta is to create a social system based on the synthesis of Varnashram and Bhakti-yoga so that virtually every person on Earth can get free of fruitive work and taste the nectar of pure devotional service. In such a fully articulated social system, every devotee can surrender to their "favorite service" in a protected environment. Such a fully articulated social system can support "everyone" such that no one is pressured to do a service they inherently do not feel attracted to as takes place where a "Subsidiary Mission Instruction" is the only offering.

At the present moment, the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, in the Parampara of Srila Bhaktivinode has failed to understand the mandate for Varnashram sysnthesis with Bhakti-yoga and, as such, cannot be considered a fully articulated "Spiritual Culture". Due to neglect of essential Varnashram Teachings and the influence of the modes of nature, this portion of the Sampradaya has succumbed to the Western system of separating spirituality and religion from all other areas of life. In this system, the Church, Mosque, Synagogue or Temple is a place where God is captured to be displayed on Sunday, while the rest of the week is spent in fruitive work and material sense gratification.

In this "unauthorized" system, a few devotees live in the Temple and enjoy the benefits of pure devotional service at the expense of those induced to become "karmis". To support the Temple, they sell books and raise funds from the congregation, which is encouraged to keep working in the mundane social system. Some Temples have started fruitive work programs and businesses such as selling "paraphernalia". The money collected from book sales, congregation and other sources is then used to procure goods and services from the surrounding mundane social system. In this manner, the Temple is fully dependant on the work of mundane people. The products and services provided by the surrounding social system are contaminated and impure in every way. In many cases, the devotees are eating foods that have been genetically modified with animal genes. Tomatoes and potatoes are commonly innoculated with pig and fish genes. In order to fulfill the mandate of "no contact," the instructions have been given to eat only fresh foods harvested not more than three hours before offering. The instruction to set up Rural Villages has been given so that devotees can eat pure foods and obtain goods that are made by devotees.

The Bhakti-Varnashram System of Bhaktivedanta permits all devotees to engage in pure devotional activities. In this system, even clothing and furniture made by devotees will have a spiritual effect, seeing it was made for the pleasure of the Deities and the devotees. This system depends on Lord Krishna, the land and the cow in such a manner that no devotee has to suffer the debilitation of over-exposure and association that comes from aiding and abetting the surrounding mundane culture. The Earth, our Mother Bhumi, a devotee herself, is fully capable of providing all that a community of devotees needs without resort to inauspicious factories.

This Varnashram Mandate is now becoming even more important, an "Imperative For Survival", with the advent of Peak Oil and Fossil Fuel Depletion. The Global supplies of coal, gas and oil are estimated to become extinct within the next 100 years, with petroleum being nearly depleted in the next 50. Extensive research shows the coming of the next Dark Age, wherein the current system crashes and the world's population is reduced by up to 85%, heralding in a New Age of pre-industrial agrarian life. These sites present enlightening research.

Peak Oil:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

Many others....

Fossil Fuel Depletion:
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net
http://wolf.readinglitho.co.uk

Coming Dark Age:
http://www.darkage.fsnet.co.uk
http://dieoff.org

It is most interesting to note that Srila Prabhupada many times mentioned the demise of the oil culture and a return to agrarian ways within the lifetime of his disciples. It is most obvious that he saw the future and, as a bulwark against this crash, instructed the establishment of a network of rural communities so Vaishnavaism would have a lasting foundation on Lord Krishna, the land and the cow. When the Global economy goes down, all Vaishnava Temples and their congregations will go down with it because they have become fully dependant on the non-devotee system. There have been many presentations of "Crash Scenarios" and, in all of them, there is rampant shortages of food, water, staples, etc. People riot and lose their sensibilities and the social system gradually falls apart. The Vaishnava People, as dependant parts of that system, will be adversely affected if they are not prepared. Globalization is moving at such a rate that even the holy places are being defiled by the construction of McDonalds and related mundane enterprises.

Time will tell how many devotees will be capable of understanding and accepting the "Varnashram Mandate Of Srila Prabhupada" and become enthused to undertake the necessary cooperation to establish a network of self-sufficient rural communities before the crash. At the present time, the record shows we are too much absorbed in our "limited personal interests" in the form of "Subsidiary Mission Instructions" to lift our vision to coincide with the "Primary Mission Instructions" of our Acharyas, who see the future and have given this Mandate for our protection. What interests us more, in many cases, is what happened to ISKCON, what ISKCON should or should not do, or what "others" should or should not be doing. All of this interaction has not caused any significant change or improvement since it began. We are getting bogged down in unessential criticism and challenge when, what we need to be doing is asking these and related questions:

1. How can we set aside our petty differences to cooperate and fulfill the "Primary Mission Instructions", specifically the establishment of a Global network of Bhakti-Varnashram Communities, as we have been instructed by Srila Bhaktivinode, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivedanta?

2. How can we come to understand and accept that fulfillment of the "Primary Mission Instructions" i.e. Varnashram Teachings, will include fulfillment of "Subsidiary Mission Instructions" thus permitting the construction of an alternative social system in which everyone can live in harmony with performance of pure devotional service?

3. How can we mature and come to the realization that "Cooperation" brings greater results than independant action. How can we reject "unity in diversity" and accept the superior ideal, that has been given as an instruction, "Diversity In Unity"?

4. How can I, as an "Individual Vaishnava," develop the realization and skill needed to undertake meaningful cooperation with other Individual Vaishnavas so we can all participate in the wonderful adventure of following the Varnashram Teachings, The Primary Mission Instructions, establishing a viable alternative social system then going on Hari Nam to invite the rest of the World to come home?


Krishna Conscious Social System/ Inside Nam Hatta
© 2007 - Hansadutta dasa
World Sankirtan Party

Srila Prabhupadaa His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadaa

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