[Note! This essay was written pm April 1, 2002, after the death in an automobile accident in West Bengal in India of a sannyasi GBC and rubber-stamped member of ISKCON who was allowed to be a guru and initiate disciples.]
I had very personal dealings with this God brother, and I am speaking from “first-hand” experience.
Do we know people like this in our society: obsessed with or possessed by achieving position, power, influence, and who, having achieved these irrational strivings, desperately cling to them no matter what?
Do we have God brothers, for example, who would not stay in this mission unless Prabhupada had given them a position? Prabhupada said we do. He said they should be completely neglected. First, we have to detect them, and then neglect them.
When Prabhupada said this movement could only be destroyed from within, he was referring to such prisoners of their irrational passions being in our society and manipulating the whole society to gratify their private agendas.
Here is an example of a good candidate for being alienated by his irrational passions: Tamal Krishna Goswami (TKG) in a letter to the GBC body in defense of his interest in raganuga topics wrote the following:
“As the senior and only remaining original member of the GBC, I stand as the number one target for all of ISKCON’s detractors. They are praying for me to fall down, to prove that ISKCON and the GBC are a failure. That is how much they identify me with Srila Prabhupada’s movement and the GBC. I am sure they will all dance in the street, when they hear that one of our own GBC members is now calling for my resignation.
However, here is my answer to them and to all of you as well: I am not resigning! Due to the influence of raganuga bhakti, I am now twice as competitive, manipulative, nasty, and political as I was before. And it’s now on the spontaneous platform!
. . . This is my 25th year on the GBC. If Krishna wills, I will serve another 25 years and then retire gracefully. Allow me that dignity. I am sure Prabhupada would.”
Here is a “personal confession” of a “supposed” uttama vaisnava and guru, saying that he has been competitive, manipulative, nasty, and political; before he wrote this letter. Each one of these attributes are symptoms of the mode of passion and ignorance. They certainly do not describe a vaisnava in the mode of goodness what to speak of a vaisnava in pure-goodness.
This is “alienation par excellence”. Apart from the faulty logic, that his fall down will prove ISKCON and the GBC a failure; how does he reconcile his complete dedication to raganuga-bhakti and his insistence that he will not resign as GBC?
What genuine candidate, for raganuga, would not welcome the chance to quit the GBC, and devote himself to his true spiritual insight? Not TKG. Rather, he threatened the whole society with 25 more years of his obsession with power.
In addition, an increase: “I am now twice as competitive, manipulative, nasty and political as I was before.”
Moreover, in the next breath he wants to retire gracefully, and on the spontaneous platform, too. Where is the grace and dignity in his outlook? How much more lost to one’s self can one get?
He admits that he was nasty, political, etc., in the past. Perhaps his detractors want him to fall down owing to his record, rather than to see ISKCON and the GBC fail. His response is to up the ante, but from his own words, it makes sound sense that his detractors would feel this way. In addition, it is likely that they do not identify the writer of that letter with Prabhupada’s movement as such, but with the irrational dynamics that they want to eliminate.
Anyway, even with his own words in black and white, who will believe this goes on in the hallowed halls of power among “advanced” devotees in the Krishna consciousness movement, the society of the most intelligent Vaishnava saints, representatives of the Goswamis, representatives of Lord Chaitanya? Of course, when something is just too amazing, it is difficult to believe. A good example is that it took America years, to believe the atrocities against humanity going on in Hitler’s concentration camps. It was just so unimaginable. Still today, there are people who doubt that the holocaust happened. One can therefore appreciate how difficult it is to believe the absurd dynamics in ISKCON.
If we are serious to practice the brahminical quality of wisdom, one of the essential things we must learn is that we need to revamp our understanding of fall down. A person who is driven by irrational strivings is already fallen. Our present working conception of fall down is a too simplistic. Consequently, ISKCON has been victimized several times by the fallen, the personally ambitious. This writer says that his detractors want him to fall down, but one who knows this philosophy has no doubt that from Krishna’s point of view this person is already quite fallen.
Prabhupada said about this person,
“I have noted, he does not have the heart of a Vaishnava.”
However, we do not neglect such people. We elevate them to the realm of inaccessible gods so we can respect them. Worse, instead of modeling ourselves after our stalwart acharyas, we seek to emulate them. The difficulty is that we are more sentimental than hard-headed realists in our approach to Krishna consciousness. This is because at heart we are competing to be the most advanced. We think hard-headed realism puts us at odds with advanced Krishna consciousness. Not so. Prabhupada said repeatedly, that the preacher’s duty is to discriminate.
If the letter by TKG was meant as a joke, it was not the least bit funny, considering the time, place, and circumstances. In any event, no one who read it at the time thought it a joke. Absurd, yes. Joke, no. Those who know the author’s history in ISKCON will not find it amusing at any time, in any place, or in any circumstance.
“They Should Be Completely Neglected”