Follow acaryas but reject deviators
by Mahavegavati Dasi
Posted July 10, 2003
Dvibhuja prabhu says: "To follow the GBC is not blind following, but practical and common sense." However, when the GBC is not representing Srila Prabhupada, a devotee has to use "common sense" and intelligence to do the right thing.
For years, many devotees acted on GBC instructions (which they should not have acted on). Many devotees now are bitter, even blaming Prabhupada for things which had nothing to do with him, but rather, came about due to deviations of the GBC, these devotees not able to make the distinction.
Kirtanananda and Hansadutta were putting their pictures on the altar for worship before Srila Prabhupada had left the planet. Kirtanananda ordered the murder of one or more devotees. Hansadutta did terrible things. Bhavananda and Kirtanananda were molesting children. One can go on and on and on about individual GBCs and gurus, and their deviations.
We can have faith in the sincerity of other devotees, as Dvibhuja suggests, but we must use intelligence. So many of us even kept our faith despite abuses. Prabhupada himself said he did not want blind following, (but many did not know this).
Now that devotees have matured and are using good intelligence, Dvibhuja prabhu seems to want to take us back to the "old school" of foolish faith. If the GBC are not following properly, they are not acting according to the divine arrangement of Srila Prabhupada. We should ask questions, and not follow deviators.
Dvibhuja calls the GBC "the ultimate arbiter in our movement."
Yes, when they are acting on behalf of Prabhupada. When they are not, a devotee does not have to follow them. There were times Srila Prabhupada authorised a wife to leave her husband, who was not acting as a proper husband, and there were times Srila Prabhupada overrode the decisions of the collective GBC, or some individual GBC.
How many times did Srila Prabhupada express his disgust with the GBC? At least once, he disbanded the GBC because they were causing problems and giving him tension and headache. Prabhupada "revived" the GBC since he was trying to get out his books, and was not able to do all of the managing by himself. There were times, however, when Srila Prabhupada gave direct instructions to some GBC person, who did not follow his instructions.
"The instructions and opinions of the acaryas are the active principle and essence of our spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys, transgresses, bypasses or minimizes these instructions immediately becomes useless." (Caitanya-caritamrta, 12.10)
According to Harinama Cintamani, all previous acaryas are our most revered siksa-gurus; and their instructions should be carried on our head as our life and soul. It is these instructions we must follow, not the instructions of conditioned souls not acting in adherence to our guru-varga.
Dvibhuja prabhu writes, "If you don't like it then it pretty much boils down to being a rebel without a real cause. . . ."
Name-calling is very easy. Some of us have not left ISKCON, but were forcibly pushed out by some GBC afraid we might "spill the beans" about their deviations. Why did the GBC push out Pradyumna prabhu, designated by Prabhupada to finish the translation of Srimad Bhagavatam? He tried to address the wrongs within the system, and they got angry.
Some tried diligently to work "within the system" but the system would not allow it. One must use proper discrimination to consider who is really "within the system" and who is "outside." One who has "captured" the heart and mood of Srila Prabhupada is really in the system, not one who remains in the organization without understanding or carrying out Srila Prabhupada's desires.
It is unfair to call devotees rebellious when one does not agree with
their viewpoints. Srila Prabhupada is our commander; when the GBC is acting
on his behalf, they can be followed. When they are not, it is time to
question them as authorities. Srila Prabhupada did this with the Gaudiya
Math, and those of us following in his footsteps (Bg. 3.21) are doing the
same, not all of us being Ritviks either.