Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
Raising Our Spiritual Standards
Introduction Part 4
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Virtually all Institutions in ISKCON, Foster Dependency in Their Members

However, virtually all institutions in ISKCON, foster dependency in their members. Today, dependency is so ingrained, it is believed to be the way, the tradition. Consequently, there is no deliberate effort to train members in independent thinking. Indeed, such thinking has become “the enemy.” Any hint of it is to be uprooted.

Another thing Srila Prabhupada said was,

“Your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate.”

This he uttered from his deathbed; and it has been assumed, wrongly, to mean that cooperating blindly with the institutional authority figures is the only way to prove one’s appreciation and love for Srila Prabhupada, whose message of devotional service to Krishna, gave meaning and purpose to our lives, meaning beyond the typical materialistic goals of getting educated, make money, raise a family, grow old and die. Instead, he taught us the means to conquer repeated birth and death.

Srila Prabhupada also said on his deathbed,

“At least try to achieve the platform of sattva-guna ‘The Mode of Goodness”

ISKCON members assume, again wrongly, that cooperation is only possible in a mode of dependency rather than inter-dependency, which they believe threatens the very foundations of institutional stability.

Thus, in ISKCON, true cooperating spirit means to blindly follow, although it must be admitted that sometimes the blind following is cleverly disguised as following from one’s own volition[1].

It is a far cry from independent thinking.  However, someone in that condition is not aware that one’s thoughts are “dictated” and one is in fact a blind follower. One has the illusion of being an independent thinker, and an inter-dependent actor.

Actually, as the writings on this web-site shows, the essence of cooperating is that one cooperates with those plans, ideas, and understandings that are inherently Krishna conscious. To cooperate by any other standard is to help kill the spirit and intent of the institution, even if it remains intact with buildings and other external symptoms, because Krishna consciousness is really about people, people achieving their personal power and then using it voluntarily, joyfully, in the service of God. An institution can facilitate that, or it can come between the Deity and the devotee.

The books, assorted treatises, papers, and essays on this site are primarily concerned with achieving the capacity for independent thinking within the framework of Krishna conscious thought. While they were written with the reader already familiar with the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literature in mind, the completely uninitiated reader may also read them with relish.

The philosophical foundations on which the conclusions herein are based, are the most detailed understanding of the Absolute Truth as presented in the ancient Sanskrit works known as the Vedas. Some 500 years ago, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates revitalized those teachings by bringing out the esoteric conclusions contained therein, and explaining them with logic and reason, giving them an internal consistency that makes them peerless in the realm of religious and philosophical thought. Those works are available elsewhere. Here we focus on the practical application of those ideas to everyday life.

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Foot Note:

[1] Volition: the faculty or power of using one’s will.

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