Comments Posted By Dwijamani das

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Hinduization of Iskcon?

Dwijamani das wrote:

As second generation, by initiation or birth, we had no personal experience of Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence. Some of us sought that experience through the books, lectures, conversations and letters of Srila Prabhupada. Unfortunately, the more we read, the more we see the glaring difference between the ISKCON Srila Prabhupada refers to and present day ISKCON.

For example, there are many occasions when Srila Prabhupada directly instructs that no temple should ever pay householders a salary. It’s very clear. He states that Temples are for those in the renounced order of life and that they are to be supported by householders earning an honest living. If married couples want to remain in the Temple, they may do so but husband and wife cannot live together or cook separately. They may receive a bare minimum allowance, particularly if they have children. The Temple President can decide how much that allowance should be but that he must also be an example of renunciation.

Because this basic instruction has been neglected for the last thirty years and the number of salaried Temple workers constantly increases, the overall running cost of a Temple is unnecessarily high. To meet this artificial demand for money, ISKCON has gone from one quick fix moneymaking scheme to another. Records, candles, paintings, bumper stickers, hats, posing as Buddhist monks, feeding the homeless, fake schools, etc. Now we’ve moved on to providing medical procedures for the poor, subsidizing Indian hospitals and catering almost exclusively to fund raising from the Indian community. Most of our Indian donors have no idea that a large percentage of the money they give for the cows simply goes into someone’s pocket. Most of our Indian donors don’t know that almost all of our Temple devotees; this means management, pujaris, cooks and fundraisers, are simply working for the Temple. Here at New Vrindaban, most of the staff are either from another country waiting for their green card, or were already in America and when their work visa expired, they joined the Temple rather than go back to India. The result in either case is that when the green card is achieved the devotee leaves. How is this helping to build a strong community?

I believe in the Guru parampara system. I believe in the concept of the GBC. But these only work as well as the individuals in them. How can anyone think that ISKCON is improving and expanding? Most of the original Temples are running on a skeleton crew if they are still open at all. France has dwindled to next to nothing; Germany has declared a state of emergency, North America is in chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid loosing everything due to being sued by its own children, who were abused by ISKCON devotees. There is a prevailing misunderstanding that ISKCON is predicted to continue for the next 10,000 years. The sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya will certainly carry on, but not necessarily through ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada says in various places that if ISKCON leaders neglect his instructions, the whole thing will be spoiled.

Is there any hope? Personally, I think there is. Here is a great opportunity for all leaders to stand up for what’s right. They did it before and can do it again. We should also be prepared to back them up in this glorious endeavor. It’s not too late to create an atmosphere of honesty, forgiveness and restitution. Devotees will forgive at the drop of a hat as long as there is genuine acceptance of mistakes made, and a sincere desire to get back on course. I remember being in a room full of devotees while a very senior leader offered sincere apologies for his part in a major controversy. Was his position of spiritual master and GBC diminished? No, it was increased, by the fact that he was honest enough to admit a mistake. After all, don’t we all have to admit, sooner or later, that our desire to be a supreme controller was a colossal mistake?

Thank you for listening

Your sevant

Dwijamani das

Comment Posted By Dwijamani das On 17.06.2006 @ 21:55

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