What is the Hare Krishna Society?

June 10, 2012 in Articles, Narasimha Dasa by Nityananda Rama dasa

What is the Hare Krishna Society?

In the early days of Srila Prabhupada’s mission in the West, some ISKCON leaders wanted to install teletype machines in all the temples, but Srila Prabhupada did not approve of the idea. He expressed concern that his neophyte students would use the machines for politics and gossip and thus waste time.

”…The installing of telex communications for our main temples is not required. Then they will gossip more through the telex….” Srila Prabhupada letter, February 5, 1977

Today it is practically seen that many ignorant persons posing as preachers hide behind their computer screens and spread unfounded allegations against devotees or try to raise doubts about the activities and purposes of bona fide sangas of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. Those with a political agenda, and other ignorant or malicious persons, sometimes spread false allegations about Srila Prabhupada’s faithful disciples and thus commit the offense know as sadhu-ninda. Sadhu-ninda can quickly ruin one’s forward progress in devotional service.  By hearing malicious rumors about disciples of Srila Prabhupada and by accepting and tolerating such nonsense without challenge or protest, internet surfers and sufferers may disrupt their forward progress on the path of bhakti-yoga.

“…Anyone who is a bona fide preacher of the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu must be respectful to the real devotees of Lord Caitanya; one should not be envious, considering one preacher to be very great and another to be very lowly. This is a material distinction and has no place on the platform of spiritual activities…”

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition  Adi 10.7 :

“… If a Vaiṣṇava, by the mercy of the Lord, is empowered by Him to distribute the Lord’s holy name all over the world, other Vaiṣṇavas become very joyful-that is, if they are truly Vaiṣṇavas. One who is envious of the success of a Vaiṣṇava is certainly not a Vaiṣṇava himself, but an ordinary mundane man. Envy and jealousy are manifested by mundane people, not by Vaiṣṇavas. Why should a Vaiṣṇava be envious of another Vaiṣṇava who is successful in spreading the holy name of the Lord? An actual Vaiṣṇava is very pleased to accept another Vaiṣṇava who is bestowing the Lord’s mercy. A mundane person in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava should not be respected but rejected. This is enjoined in the śāstra (upekṣā). The word upekṣā means neglect. One should neglect an envious person. A preacher’s duty is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, make friendships with Vaiṣṇavas, show mercy to the innocent and reject or neglect those who are envious or jealous. There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaiṣṇavas in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava. When Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava sevā nistāra payeche kebā, he is indicating an actual Vaiṣṇava, not an envious or jealous person in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava…”

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – Madhya-lila 1.218

Over the years, a few antagonistic persons have tried to malign the Hare Krishna Society for ridiculous and selfish reasons. Some persons have apparently felt slighted by HKS because of our strict policy to ignore the various vitiated “iskcon” groups, the various members associated with these groups, senior devotees who are still confused about Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, and other misguided persons associated with various other groups, such as branches of the former Gaudiya matha. (See references below.)

We also tend to avoid persons who are obsessed with the idea of trying to reform corporate iskcon’s clerics. We also avoid those who want to advertise and exaggerate the alleged faults of specific devotees, particularly those who are unpretentious preachers who know the siddhanta.  Because we refrain from involvement in drawn out, rambling discussions on the internet with persons who are misguided or antagonistic, some devotees feel slighted. (See references below.) We feel the best way to deal with various misguided persons is to teach the truth about Srila Prabhupada and His instructions. If we attack something, we attack the sin and the sinful idea rather than all the individual sinners. We generally avoid discussing individuals—unless we are forced to do so. We have enough to do to explain the fundamentals of Krishna consciousness to innocent devotees who have been misled by bogus preachers.

“…If one hears the activities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with this faith, he can be freed from his envious position. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant for such nonenvious persons (nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām)….”

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta  Madhya-lila 9.362 :

Our positive agenda is to preach the glories of Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada and the bona fide parampara. In the course of preaching correctly about the mission and teachings of the Krishna consciousness movement all opposing elements are defeated naturally.  It is not HKS policy to attack and expose individual leaders for their sinful secret lives and extravagance. This is not practical.  Nor is it advised in shastra to chase after and try to reform unrepentant deviants. We naturally expose obvious deviations in siddhanta and sadhana by preaching the truth. (See references below.)

HKS generally avoids direct confrontation with the fallen branches of iskcon.  Some persons criticize us for 1) not attacking iskcon, 2) attacking iskcon,  3) not being under a gbc,  4) not supporting devotees who attack iskcon leaders, 5) supporting those who attack Iskcon leaders, 6) creating an organization separate from iskcon, and so on. (See references.)

The latest irrational accusation against HKS and some of its members is that we do not accept verbatim the unfounded and ridiculous accusations against one hard-working devotee who has done immense service and who keeps himself always in the association of other simple, hard-working devotees. We have no official or financial connections with this devotee, have no bias for him or against him, nor do we have any information that he is a child molester or habitual sex offender. If fact, after interviewing numerous devotees and local people connected with this devotee for many years, we find mostly praise for his dedicated, steady service and no serious complaints. We prefer to give the benefit of doubt to devotees who 1) are engaged in dedicated work for spreading Prabhupada’s mission, 2) show no interest in personal wealth, fame and followers, 3) are eager to associate with and assist Prabhupada’s bona fide disciples, 4) have a long history of service and surrender in Prabhupada’s mission, 5) are reluctant to accept or engage in idle gossip, 6) preach correct sadhana and siddhanta, 7) consult senior devotees, 8) are not in charge of or in private contact with women and children outside their immediate family, 9) are not envious of devotees.

“…Regarding your questions, we should not take any stock of rumors which may come, that is not our process to act upon rumors. We hear from the authorized sources, and then our hearing is perfect. So you are the leader of big temple, you should know these things and avoid them, and instruct the other students there to stick to whatever is mentioned in our books and try to understand that subject matter from every angle of vision, without trying to adulterate by adding anything rumor. Our preaching must be based upon the subject matter from books and nothing outside of them. The actual fact is that worshiping the Deity and chanting the glories of the Lord are both within the nine processes of devotional service recommended by Rupa Goswami..”. Srila Prabhupada letter, Los Angeles 16 June, 1972

The various accusers against the above-mentioned devotee have been unable to point to even one person who claims this devotee tried to molest her or him. Rather all accusations seem to stem from one or two malicious and unreliable sources, who may themselves be suspect. As Srila Prabhupada points out: “According to the logic of atmavan manyate jagat, everyone thinks of others according to his own position.” (SB. 5.8.16, Purpot) According to common schoolyard logic: it takes one to know one.

We feel it is better to ignore those who spread unsubstantiated rumors about individuals and communities who are properly situated in devotional service, particularly those who have long stood apart from the vitiated gbc of maya-iskcon.  In other words, rather than immediately accept the accusations of unknown persons who surf the internet looking for slander against devotees and who may be polluted by malicious envy, we first check the facts and the sources, as far as possible. (We are not the FBI. We are not professional investigators. We believe in the American ideal of presumed innocence until proven guilt. We are not a kangaroo court.)

Most of the founding members of Hare Krishna Society have gone on record for years as having expressed eagerness to cooperate with anyone, or any group, willing to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for initiations and other sadhana. For the benefit of all, the Hare Krishna Society has carefully described the philosophical and theological position of the Krishna consciousness movement while distinguishing correct sadhana and siddhanta from deviations. In our book, Srila Prabhupada Siddhanta, we have concisely defeated the gbc and pseudo gaudiya-matha false doctrines— not by attacking any individual or group but by stating the truth simply with numerous scriptural references. This book was produced with the cooperation and oversight of many learned, senior devotees.

The Hare Krishna Society is trying to cooperate with Bangalore ISKCON and other camps of  Prabhupada anugas (ritviks) all over the world. But we are finding that those who are suspicious of the Hare Krishna Society are also suspicious and deliberately aloof from almost all other devotees who try to preach the mission of Srila Prabhupada. There certainly needs to be more cooperation among Prabhupada’s true disciples, and HKS has tried to increase and assist such cooperation.  We will go on preaching to the innocent. Because the gbc has banned all discussions regarding the “guru issue”, all attempts to improve the present-day iskcon by managerial arrangements, law suits, rallies, protests, verbal attacks, or voting may be pie-in-sky dreaming only.

Similarly it is foolish to imagine that we can reform the Krishna consciousness movement by spreading exaggerated rumors about individual preachers who are not hiding, not avoiding good association, not claiming to be gurus or big leaders, and who engage in regular, humble service to Prabhupada’s mission. All we can do is preach the truth about Srila Prabhupada while learning to depend on Krishna fully.

Although the Hare Krishna Society has never opposed those who say they want to reform iskcon clerics, we feel this is not the best way to preach. In fact, it may be a distraction. The scriptures advise that devotees ignore persons who are jealous of pure devotees, even though they may present themselves nicely as Vaisnavas.  Most of the founding members of the Hare Krishna Society were pioneers—at significant personal sacrifice and risk—in trying to reinstate Srila Prabhupada’s system for initiations in ISKCON. At one point, in the 1980s, leading gbc men were forced by a growing movement of would-be reformers to realize they had no philosophical or institutional basis for their concocted system of “guru” appointments. Thus they began a malicious campaign of blasphemy and intimidation against devotees who were trying to defend Srila Prabhupada’s mission and instructions.

The gbc began this toxic campaign by issuing various published letters and position papers warning their followers that ritviks and the “posthumous” ritvik idea were heretical and demoniac. In other words, the gbc leaders clearly expressed their unwillingness for sober, open talks based on scriptural conclusions and direct orders from Srila Prabhupada. These gbc fellows understood that intimidation and threats would provide their only possible means to quell the growing movement, which favored Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for ritvik initiations. It is not the duty of preachers to constantly chase after antagonistic persons posing as sadhus. Our duty is to preach to faithful devotees and the innocently ignorant. This is one of the main reasons that HKS was formed.

Some devotees are afraid of HKS because it is headed by senior, learned devotees who are not easily fooled by false pretense. It would appear that some persons are afraid of any kind of cooperation on any level unless cooperation is defined as “cooperation with me”. Many so-called ritviks have imbibed this defect by due to their obsession with iskcon and their lack of proper training and association.

The Hare Krishna Society is not, at present, a physical institution with leaders, managers, properties, politics, money and followers. HKS has no bank balance, no collection schemes, and no money to launder. HKS is a bona fide educational organization and has done nothing illegal or shady. We have kept a humble profile as a Society, but none of us are afraid of misskcon thugs or other malicious instigators posing as reformers. HKS devotees mostly associate only with those who are knowledgeable disciples or aspiring disciples of Srila Prabhupada. We don’t chase other groups of devotees or try to disrupt their programs. One important reason for which HKS was formed was to provide an avenue of sanga and training for serious preachers, new and old.

Some of us had predicted long ago that those who refuse to associate with Prabhupada’s longtime, loyal disciples will eventually slip down the deadly cliff of sadhu-ninda and/or apa-siddhanta due to their habit of personal attacks against devotees and/or their lack of knowledge and discrimination. Such persons are often expert in creating doubts, but not expert in cooperating with devotees, following sadhana or glorifying Srila Prabhupada and the bona fide parampara through proper preaching. Some persons claiming to be Prabhupadanugas seem more interested in pointing out the personal faults of devotees, even to the point of spreading exaggerated allegations against Srila Prabhupada’s loyal preachers.

The HKS policy is to preach the truth about Srila Prabhupada. We have no interest in prying out the moral faults of others, nor do we meditate on such alleged faults. The actual faults of fallen pretenders become self-apparent in due course without the separate endeavor of others. Our focus is to preach the truth about Prabhupada. We feel this is the best way by which everything will be revealed. Those who think they should attack the humble defenders of Srila Prabhupada’s mission are foolish and frustrated. Because iskcon leaders ignore them, such rabble-rousers attack others, like the Hare Krishna Society.  Their propensity is to fight, not to cooperate. Such belligerent rebels can’t help devotees find the genuine sanga of the Krishna consciousness movement.

The Hare Krishna Society is primarily an educational society. Our website is not an internet gossip rag but rather a philosophical site full of spiritual nectar and inspiration. We preach that Srila Prabhupada and His instructions provide the only sure method for everyone to go back to Godhead in this lifetime. We preach that anyone can accept Prabhupada, with or without the sanction of institutions and clerics. We preach that a bona fide spiritual master must be a liberated soul who is specifically empowered by Krishna for this service. We preach that all of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for sadhana must be followed in ISKCON and other institutions representing Srila Prabhupada. We preach that Srila Prabhupada’s books should not be edited or changed.

We do NOT teach that only institutions with name “ISKCON” can be bona fide. We do not teach that the Hare Krishna Society is the only bona fide mission and that all must join us. We have noticed, however, that some ritviks are not expert in preaching without adulteration. In spite of sometimes hearing childish and ignorant complaints against us, HKS devotees have always expressed willingness to cooperate with other groups who at least accept Srila Prabhupada as the initiating spiritual master for all ISKCON devotees. We have zero tolerance, however, for pretenders who try to create doubts about Srila Prabhupada’s sincere followers. We do not accept the various false premises and insinuations of some of these so-called ritviks. We do not accept unfounded ideas that are not supported in Srila Prabhupada’s books and instructions.

Over the years we have been approached by various aspiring reformers who have asked our advice. We generally advise that they first consult and try to cooperate with longtime proven preachers. Most do not take this advice, so we tend to ignore them for fear that they have already been poisoned. Any organized effort to preach requires real friendship and trusting relationships with Srila Prabhupada’s bona fide disciples, otherwise it will ultimately fail. No managerial formula will help without friendship and trust. Those who deliberately avoid good association with senior devotees are misguided. Such persons may be falsely proud, may have a false agenda, or may be misled and paranoid. Most Hare Krishna Society devotees do not have the time or interest to sort out all the doubters, so we generally ignore such devotees unless we know them personally and feel they might hear good advice. Most of us at HKS feel this is the best policy, overall, for dealing with confused devotees.


“… It is also said, phalena paricīyate: one’s success or defeat in any activity is understood by its result. There are many karmīs in the dress of devotees, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can detect their purpose. The karmīs want to use the property of the Lord for their selfish sense gratification, but a devotee endeavors to use the Lord’s property for God’s service. Therefore a devotee is always distinct from the karmīs, although the karmīs may dress like devoteesBooks : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 8: “Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations” :  Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.9.28 : PURPORT

“…In Bhagavad-gita there is reference to bodhayantah parasparam, “discussing among themselves.” Generally pure devotees utilize their valuable time in chanting and discussing various activities of Lord Krsna or Lord Caitanya amongst themselves. There are innumerable books, such as the Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and Upanisads, which contain countless subjects for discussion among two devotees or more. Friendship should be cemented between persons with mutual interests and understanding. Such persons are said to be sva jati, “of the same caste.” The devotee should avoid a person whose character is not fixed in the standard understanding; even though he may be a Vaisnava, or a devotee of Krsna, if his character is not correctly representative, then he should be avoided. One should steadily control the senses and the mind and strictly follow the rules and regulations, and he should make friendship with persons of the same standard…” Srimad-Bhagavatam purport  3.29.17

“…: hanti nindati vai dvesti vaisnavan nabhinandati krudhyate yati no harsam darsane patanani sat : In this conversation between Mārkaṇḍeya and Bhagīratha, it is said: “My dear King, if one derides an exalted devotee, he loses the results of his pious activities, his opulence, his reputation and his sons. Vaiṣṇavas are all great souls. Whoever blasphemes them falls down to the hell known as Mahāraurava. He is also accompanied by his forefathers. Whoever kills or blasphemes a Vaiṣṇava and whoever is envious of a Vaiṣṇava or angry with him, or whoever does not offer him obeisances or feel joy upon seeing a Vaiṣṇava, certainly falls into a hellish condition….” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 15.261 “ …Unless one is a fully qualified brāhmaṇa, he cannot advance in the spiritual science. A real brāhmaṇa is never envious of Vaiṣṇavas. If he is, he is considered an imperfect neophyte…” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta CC. Madhya-lila 15.277

īśvare tad-adhīneṣu

bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca


yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ

īśvare—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat-adhīneṣu—to persons who have taken fully to Kṛṣṇa consciousness; bāliśeṣu—unto the neophytes or the ignorant; dviṣatsu—to persons envious of Kṛṣṇa and the devotees of Kṛṣṇa; prema—love; maitrī—friendship; kṛpā—mercy; upekṣā—negligence; yaḥ—anyone who; karoti—does; saḥ—he; madhyamaḥ—a second-class devotee.


” ‘An intermediate, second-class devotee shows love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is friendly to all devotees and is very merciful to neophytes and ignorant people. The intermediate devotee neglects those who are envious of devotional service.


This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.46). This statement was made by the great sage Nārada while he was speaking to Vasudeva about devotional service. This subject was originally discussed between Nimi, the King of Videha, and the nine Yogendras.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – CC. Madhya-lila 22.73.

“… Our process is to reform. Everyone is under the clutches of maya. If we follow the regulative principles we can get out and come to spontaneous love. A diseased man is always under the clutches of disease. But if he follows the prescribed orders given by the spiritual master he can be cured. Now, how to reform? If we ask him to go away the whole society will be finished. If they tell them to get out of the hospital or if they kill them, that is easy…” Srila Prabhupada letter,Tirupati 28 April, 1974

“…We invite everyone to understand the philosophy and reform the activities of life. This is our mission…”. Srila Prabhupada letter Minister in charge of Immigration, 24 November, 1973

“…The best thing for you is to set the example by your personal behavior and try to reform the others, not by criticizing but by friendly behavior. If sometimes there are any disagreements, we should try to forget such incidences and be always in friendship with each other…” Srila Prabhupada letter, Nairobi,14 October, 1971