Twitting the Philosophy
by Niscala devi dasi
Posted January 7, 2003

I appreciate Subhadra Mayi's article very much as truthful and insightful. The philosophy has been seriously twisted or twitted for ambitious purposes and thus we are proving true the seemingly prophetic words of Srila Prabhupada: ISKCON can only be destroyed from within- by personal ambition. These words mean that ISKCON can be destroyed utterly, while seemingly remaining intact, in secure hold of all its properties, and its structure unchanged. The survival of ISKCON means a survival of nothing external, but of purpose. That purpose must be identical with the parampara- to liberate and enlighten. When our purpose deviates, and we use the philosophy to close eyes and to possess, we are guilty of deviation, even while quoting verbatim, the acharyas.

Most devotees are unaware that "not deviating an inch" and verbatim quotes are two different tings entirely. A very common scenario. A leader hears of some criticism of his leadership, and so gives a Bhagavatam class about the dangers of fault finding, describing the history of Amogha. In doing so, he twits his hearers, for the comparison between Amogha's finding of inconsequential faults, and the finding of serious faults is not made, and truth speaking and fault-finding, two very different mentalities, are merged into one.

This is an example of how verbatim philosophy can be misused to further the cause of illusion as opposed to truth.

Lord Chaitanya warned that the creeper of bhakti and the weed of unwanted things often look exactly the same. And Bhaktivinode Thakura warned that bhakti itself produces anarthas. Thus the guru is warned against accepting too many disciples, and the taking of sannyasa is advised against. The problem of honour and glory is something we should fear, but we embrace it. Lord Chaitanya would not allow women to offer obeisances within his vision, yet I have seen in Vrindavan women falling all over in front of sannyasis, and praising them to their face. And there are gurus in our movement who do nothing more than accept money, services and praise from their disciples. They are fallen, but when a sannyasi has an accidental falldown, which Krsna says should be overlooked, there is a huge demand for him to get out of saffron. No analysis is made of the difference between accidental falldown, and the whole-hearted embrace of the enjoying mentality, be it ever so subtle, cultivated in the hearts of some of the saffron clad. There is even a sannyasi who has been given $30 million in inheritance and is living in the lap of luxury. He is not fallen?

Here is another example of twisting or twitting the philosophy: This same sannyasi is writing a book about yukta vairagya- what real renunciation is, to convince us how a sannyasi living in luxury is fulfilling the import of yukta vairagya. Interestingly, the original author of the concept, Rupa Goswami lived in abject poverty, having rejected all claims to honestly earned wealth before taking sannyasa. Any donations for wealthy disciples did not change his level of renunciation, but were used in total for the construction of temples. This is yukta vairagya, but in illusion, the weed is confused with the creeper.

"Cooperate to show your love for Prabhupada" is also a misused verbatim quote. Generally it is used when someone objects to a decision in the management of our society. However, Srila Prabhupada meant cooperation to be a two-way, not a one-way effort. He said that the different limbs of society should "co-operate" and be interdependent. Thus managers could and should welcome advice from any thoughtful person, regardless of his position or lack of. This is the idea of having a brahiminical class, not by appointment but by quality, to cooperate with leaders, to give them advice. This is what cooperating with leaders means in terms of varnasrama, which Srila Prabhupada asked that we introduce. It is not a "just do as you are told" sort of thing, or he would never have said that the purpose of ISKCON was to create a class of independently thoughtful personalities...