In the end of November 2011, I met an well educated, Indian professional, young man, at the New Delhi international airport. To make a long story short, we communicated, via e-mail, where I have providing information, which he requested regarding ISKCON gurus and bhakti in general. His first question to me at the airport was,
“Do you of anyone, who is a Uttama, pure devotee?”.
His main point is that he did not want to be cheated. That is what he said to me several time. Hence, I provided references from sastra and Srila Prabhupada, which would teach him, that it is his responsibility to determine who he wants to take diksha from; and that, requires knowledge of how to look for the personally verifiable, qualities, and attributes of a Uttama. It is his responsibility, and he should not let anyone else, or any organization, or institution, chose for him, or tell him who is qualified and who is not. In addition, I haveprovided reference on the responsibilities of a disciple, on what it means to be a qualified disciple.
After a year or so, this communication with him lead him to one day write and say,
“Thank you for saving me from ISKCON”.
The following is a portion of one of the letters I wrote to him.
In regards to my god brothers who are gurus, it is possible that they have dug their own grave, so to speak, in their attempt to imitate Srila Prabhupada. In Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 24.115-118 it is stated (item 13),
“On the path of regulative devotional service, one must observe the following items:
- One must accept a bona fide spiritual master.
- One must accept initiation from him.
- One must serve him.
- One must receive instructions from the spiritual master and make inquiries in order to learn devotional service.
- One must follow in the footsteps of the previous acaryas and follow the directions given by the spiritual master. The next steps are as follows:
- One should be prepared to give up everything for Krishna satisfaction, and one should also accept everything for Krishna satisfaction.
- If possible, one must live in a place where Krishna is present—a city like Vrndavana or Mathura or a Krishna temple.
- One should acquire a livelihood that is just sufficient to keep body and soul together.
- One must fast on the Ekadasi day.
- One should worship dhatri trees, banyan trees, cows, brahmanas and devotees of Lord Visnu.
- One should avoid offenses against devotional service and the holy name.
- The twelfth item is to give up the company of nondevotees.
- One should not accept an unlimited number of disciples.
- One should not partially study many scriptures just to be able to give references and expand explanations.”