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“To me it is no longer a question of simply accepting and trusting the devotees who are assigned as substitutes for the ones that happened to fall down during recent events. No, it has rather become a question of assuming that it is only a matter of time until this substitute also falls down and has to be replaced.”

BHAKTA MARICI
      Writes from Sweden


How Can I Trust ISKCON Anymore?
By Bhakta Marici (Sweden)

Dear CHAKRA, 

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

By regularly reading all kinds of Internet reports on the activities of ISKCON - from ISKCON itself, from "branches," from resistance and reform movements, etc. - and by being an “outside” ISKCON devotee, I am always left with one essential question: How can I trust ISKCON anymore? Similarly, I ask myself, how do I trust any branch or reform version of ISKCON?

After 13 years of having tried to become a devotee in the mood of ISKCON, and throughout those 13 years simultaneously having tried to overlook all the nonsense that is going on in the name of Krishna consciousness, there comes a point when one loses all hope, which also means losing track of where you stand as an aspiring devotee.

To me it is no longer a question of simply accepting and trusting the devotees who are assigned as substitutes for the ones that happened to fall down during recent events. No, it has rather become a question of assuming that it is only a matter of time until this substitute also falls down and has to be replaced.

In the light of this kind of negativistic mood (which cannot come as a surprise to anyone) in an aspiring devotee as myself one comes to the conclusion that it must be more or less a waste of time and spiritual energy to pay any more attention to the ISKCON path back to Godhead. Because whenever one regains the strength to once again identify with this movement, the main question turns out to be: Who is going to deceive me and desert me next?

As you may perfectly well understand, this starting-point in itself makes it extremely difficult to seek guidance from any devotee coming in the line of ISKCON. The main issue for someone like me is not whether to trust or not the GBC, or whether to trust or not some branch trying to reform the GBC. The fundamental issue is far deeper.

Crazy as it may be, I have been forced to come to the sad conclusion that the ISKCON-environment itself must be more or less a "constitutional colony of bacteria,” where anyone who comes in touch with it will sooner or later develop the ISKCON disease of divergence from the original bhakti which Srila Prabhupada institutionalized. Or in other words - ISKCON should be a spiritual hospital where one recovers from the material disease and upon total recovery leaves for the eternal spiritual world. But instead of this, it seems that ISKCON suffers from the "hospital malady" (just like any other hospital that is often full of infections) and that the infection is not only contagious but hereditary too!

Isn’t this a sad thing? Isn’t this something worth focusing on? Because simply correcting superficial mistakes among devotees, expelling devotees, transferring devotees from one temple to another, from one branch to another, etc. is like polishing the leaves of a sick tree.

This polishing is still going on without uncovering the true facts behind managerial actions concerning people in general.

As an example I just happened to see a particular devotee mentioned on the CHAKRA "BBT 2000 Symposium" page; mentioned only in terms of being "a great source of inspiration to the symposium and all the assembled devotees." Having repeatedly experienced this person myself, and judging from all the evidence from other people’s encounters with his tyrannical character, I could only tremble in horror when reading that he is still active on a big scale as an ISKCON representative.

So in the light of my state of general hopelessness - as depicted above - the first thought coming to my mind was that he may well be the next “Bhagavan” or “Hamsaduta” or at least one of the next devotees in the future to cause major trouble and leave.

My personal judgment within this letter to CHAKRA may well be biased and non-objective. That is quite natural since I have been in and out of association with the movement for 13 years. But objectively speaking we can also see that ISKCON is having a hard time recruiting new bhaktas. Newly recruited bhaktas leave shortly after; the "currency" of ISKCON is almost nil on the "spiritual stock market." People in general have a negative impression of the Movement and even people with spiritual inclinations find it hard to be attracted to nowadays.

So I wonder why we don’t focus more on re-establishing some good standing and trust in the eyes of people in general (i.e. the potential newcomers) instead of simply trying to superficially clean the inside of the ISKCON house at the expense of those standing in its gardens ready to decide whether or not to enter.

Yours,
Bhakta Marici, Sweden

© CHAKRA 3-January-2000

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