Chakra Discussions

Reply To the Article: a Disciple's Perspective On the Hinduization of ISKCON

by Suresh Das

Posted May 4, 2006

I have been reading the various articles written by several devotees complaining about the lack of book distribution in ISKCON today, and the Hinduization of ISKCON. I have been thinking for several weeks about these problems, and as although I am no longer an active devotee, I still have been a long-term supporter of ISKCON devotees and causes for many years.

First, regarding the Hinduization of ISKCON, this charge clearly smacks of racism, and seeing others in the bodily conception of life, instead of seeing others as spirit soul.

Clearly ISKCON in spite of years of effort and sacrifice on the part of many devotees, has made no significant impact on modern society. Most regard us as a botheration, or as professional panhandlers. Virtually everyone who was alive during the 70's has had a bad experience with being swindled by a devotee, or had a book jammed down their throats in an airport or knows someone who has. Whenever I even try to give away one of Prabhupada's books people give me a look of disgust and anger. It is truly an embarrassment to tell any of my friends or neighbors that I am devotee, so I keep my spiritual life as secret as possible, which is very unfortunate.

"TIME" magazine listed the 100 most influential people last year, but Srila Prabhuapada was not on the list, which speaks of our failure.

Out of all the people I meet and speak with though, I find those from the Indian Community the most supportive and appreciate of the efforts of devotees, more so than ever before. I was recently at a party and several Indians came over to me, expressing their appreciation for my being a Vaisnava. I know that I am nothing more than a Melecha and a Yavanna trying to be a Vaisnava, as Srila Prabhupada stated, but it is amazing to see them respectful and appreciate towards us.

My wife was shopping at Staples recently. A young Indian clerk saw my wife's necklace with Krishna's picture on it. After finding out that she is an ISKCON devotee, he immediately and very enthusiastically offered her his respect. Somehow we have had a positive influence on the Indian Community, and we should be more appreciative and grateful for it.

The reality is we have a nice movement, beautiful temples, fabulous books, strict rules and regulations, but a shortage of enlightenment, happiness, kindness, and integrity which is truly what is needed now to make the movement grow.

With the allegations of Child Molestation it is truly a wonder that we sell any books at all.