The infantilization of ISKCON
Posted February 22, 2004
Hare Krsna dasi's article, while suggesting a valid point, demonstrates quite clearly that ISKCON is not becoming Hinduized; it remains ever rigid. She points out the "valuable" rigidity of the GBC in other circumstances and, when they are not on the ball to condemn this lapse into Hindudom, she readily takes up the task herself.
I suggest that ISKCON has become infantilized. It promotes this childish fear of the unknown. As a second generation ISKCON devotee I find many of my well wishing god-uncles and aunts stubbornly clinging to conceptions of Krsna consciousness without letting ISKCON's followers grow up, with faith that we'll use our knowledge of Krsna consciousness wisely.
As a parent must try his/her best to instill proper values in the child before sending it into the world, ISKCON does its job of facilitating our education in Gaudiya philosophy. It needs to learn to let its followers grow up though, with trust that that education will carry them through.
The example of Siva-Ratri is a good one. Who in ISKCON, with any
knowledge of Prabhupada's teachings, would promote worship of the
demigods as an ultimate end? For one night, he is worshipped nicely and
with utmost respect and we still have to hear the fear of "demigod
worshippers!!" in the back of our minds? Can't we just grow up? If
one reads the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta one will find numerous
occasions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu glorifying Lord Siva, dancing in his
temples, dancing before his forms. Devotees of Krsna should be able to
feel confident in their worship of Lord Siva as the best of the Vaishnavas.