The Greenhorn Factor
BY RADHA KRISHNA DASA
Heard of Ox power? Iskcon runs on greenhorn power. They try to keep new people greenhorns, keep them naive, keep them uneducated and completely ignorant of the history of guru tattva, and the ongoing argument on guru tattva. If the greenhorns actually find out what's really happening, then they'll follow the same road that other thousands have gone. How do they expect to run Iskcon by evasive tactics for 10,000 years?
There's nothing wrong with being a greenhorn, everybody's done that. It is a natural stage of development, from which one is expected to grow up from. One is expected to be naive and confused in the beginning, and then develop one's philosophic depth and mature and grow into an intelligent soldier for Srila Prabhupada's movement.
Yet, it seems that getting mature is not what they really want. Because maturity and continued reading of Prabhupada's books will eventually lead to questioning the system, and see things which are not in the books, like the concept of fallen gurus and reinitiation, and seeing what the actual qualities of a diksa guru are, how Prabhupada's books are being changed, and what Prabhupada's instructions of 1977 were, and so on. This is what really gets me. The greenhorns say that "ritvik" is not a real word. Ok. Then it must have gone like this: One day, some rebellious devotees decided to give the leaders some trouble. They said, "I know how we will do this! We'll make up a new word and start a whole rebel movement out of this word! Let me see, how about 'mitrik, no fitlick, no, kicklick, no, its ritvik!' Yes, that's it, we'll call our new movement the 'ritviks!" And this brilliant invention started the whole thing. Somehow they hacked into the folio and added the word "ritvik" into the Srimad Bhagavatam and the conversations, and the July 9th letter! How ingenious of them!
All kidding aside, how do the GBC expect anybody with a half a brain to swallow this garbage? No, only the greenhorn factor keeps it going (along with those of vested interest) and why do we wonder why so many older and mature soldiers have left the battlefield?
Here is the simple FORMULA, by which ANYONE can understand this issue, be they a beginner greenhorn or a seasoned devotee:
Prabhupada told us what to do, in the July 9th letter. TKG did not tell us what to do, Prabhupada did. Men who say that Tamal did this, are very foolish. Such foolishness is unfathomable and pitiable. Prabhpada told us what to do, and in that sense, it was definitely an order. Call it a directive, call it an order, it is foolish to argue semantics. He told us what to do, bas. So, it was an order. And the order was from Srila Prabhupada alone, the greatest acharya on earth, and therefore it must be obeyed.
And what makes it final, is the fact that no other orders or changes were given by Srila Prabhupada, after that order. So it was final, in the sense of the meaning of the word "final," or it was the last order he gave us.
It is hard to argue these two points. If someone says it was not an order, then they should explain what it means when the spiritual master tells us to do something, how that is not an order? Is he just shooting the breeze, dropping a hint, or making a vague suggestion? The only conclusion that we can come to, is that, it was an order. From him.
If they want to argue that it was not final, fine, then they must produce some other later order, on paper, or on tape. He said so many things in books and letters before, but still nothing will ever negate the fact that this July 9th letter was him telling us what to do, and therefore an order. And lack of any other later order, forces us to believe that it was, indeed, the final order. Plain and simple. Somebody may argue this, but it is all hearsay. Until we actually come up with the "hard copy" evidence that he made some later order, then it will always stand that the July 9th was, in fact, the final order.
There should be thousands of seasoned veterans in Iskcon. Where are they? Most of Srila Prabhupada's disciples are gone, 90% some say. You go to a lot of temples and they look like ghost towns, compared to the 70's, and run by skeleton crews. Exception is LA, but many come for green card, or there are many from other countries who come for the weather and the good CA pick. How many new Americans are there? If you research how many books have been distributed, there should be a lot more new devotees, it seems.
Where are the 1000's of Prabhupada disciples now? The new gurus will tell you that they all left, because they are in Maya. But how can that many be wrong or in Maya? Does that make sense? When Prabhupada was here, we didn't see a mass exodus. We didn't see 90% fall in Maya. Why did it happen after Srila Prabhupada left? We think it was dishonesty and fraud which turned them out. Devotees cannot stomach dishonesty and fraudulent practice.
This is not merely an attempt to just criticize. We are hoping to open the idea that Ikscon can once again come up to a standard of open discussion, and open istagosi like Srila Prabhupada wanted. We hope that someday Ikscon will embrace Brahminical truth and honesty once again.
So where are all the soldiers? Many are in Alachua FL. Most of them are discontent. How do we know? They circulated a petition for support of GBC's stance on initiations. There were few senior Prabhupada disciples on that list, compared to the number who live there. Some who signed are more less career devotees in Iskcon. They don't rock the boat. Some are disciples of present gurus. One was a scholar of Sanskrit, and we know he wants to be guru. We also know that he disdains the Internet, and so he is unaware of what is happening. So those who are independent of financial assistance of Iskcon, who are capable of thinking for themselves, or who are not ambitious to be guru, these are ones who did not sign. This is the biggest devotee community in the world.
Especially those who have computers and read the net, they know better about the state of Iskcon. You practically have to read the net, to get any brains on the subject. You can't rely on what you hear in the temple. It is the nature of a devotee to be philosophical and seek the real truth. We see examples of great devotees throughout the Vedic literature of how they stand up for honesty and dharma, and they admit when they are defeated in debate. An older and mature devotee cannot be hoodwinked. Old Johnny Hoodwinkle cannot cast his spell on a seasoned devotee.
If you go to any temple and go to the Srimad Bhagavatam class, you will generally see the same situation. There are some new people, who are bright eyed and bushy tailed. They are nodding their heads in agreement to what the class giver is saying. What else could they think? They don't know the history. They don't access the net. They are forbidden to converse with any other opinion. What is so surprising that they agree with the class? In fact, these new comers look more advanced than older devotees, in the beginning. That is because they came through the power of Srila Prabhupada's books. Their faces are bright. They are full of transcendental knowledge from hearing from the pure devotee.
After a while in Iskcon, the brightness begins to fade. I've seen it. They love Srila Prabhupada's books in the beginning, but later are told to hear from the new gurus, and that they cannot properly understand Srila Prabhupada's books without the current guru. They hear the anti-ritvik campaign. This is when you start to see lines of hardness in their faces. I've seen it. This is where the smiles turn to scowls. This is where the luster fades from their faces. This is the greatest tragedy. If you don't believe me, then go to any temple and mention "ritvik." You will see hatred and non-communication. Even though the word ritvik was used personally by Srila Prabhupada many times in 77, still the word will provoke hatred. Instead of open istagosti, as Srila Prabhupada wanted, they are given only one side of what the leaders interpret of what Srila Prabhupada said in 1977.
The majority of devotees do not approve of what Iskcon is doing. For proof, just check the VNN poll on how GBC handled problems in 99. I just checked, and 75% voted bad. In the beginning it was more like 90%, and probably the temples got as many greenhorns to vote as possible. Still 75% is the majority of devotees. This is public opinion. Of course, this fact, (just like the many other glaring facts) will never change the GBC. They are determined to continue even after being officially defeated on paper. They refuse a public debate, because they know they will lose.
To give an idea of just some of the many reasons why 75% of devotees gave a "thumbs down" vote on the GBC, we provide a short list of dishonest dealings which turn older devotees away from Iskcon.
1. The tape. This started the whole thing. They claimed it was the "appointment tape." We asked, "can we hear the tape?" They said, "NO, you cannot." This made us feel like we were the "little kids" and they were the "authoritarian parents." We didn't get to hear it for 5 years or so. Then there ended up to be 4 different versions of the tape, 4 different transcripts. Forensic experts said, "falsification." They harp on the latter part, but never mention that Srila Prabhupada actually said, "Officiating acaryas" (I will appoint for the future) and "WHEN I order," ( or maybe, just MAYBE, you'll be gurus someday, if you ever get qualified.) Does anybody think this is honesty?
2. The secretary in his Topanga confessions said that Srila Prabhupada only ordered ritviks. He told Yasoda that (after departure) "they'll be ritviks, its all on tape." So where are the tapes? Later we find out there are 150 missing tapes of vital evidence, which only the secretary could have buried. Is this honesty?
3. The official debate. The GBC asked the reformers to compose the definitive final paper on their position. TFO was composed by their request. There ensued several rebuttals on both sides. The GBC continually evaded the 2 prime questions. What's the evidence that Srila Prabhupada ordered you gurus? Or on what authority do ritviks automatically becomes gurus? Where is your authority to end the ritvik system already up and running? They never ever hinted at those questions. They were defeated, yet they would not admit it. Is this honesty?
4. The final GBC solution. Their final solution was, "Ok, we can't defeat you philosophically, so just shut up or GET THE HELL OUT." (And meanwhile, we'll tell all the greenhorns that you were defeated, and nobody will know the better!) No philosophic rebuttal was honestly given to the reform party. They only said that they had already defeated ritvik in previous writings, there was no point in any further discussion of it. If they had actually defeated it, that means that no one would be ritvik anymore. Because a main point that Krishna Kant made, was "just show us where Srila Prabhupada ordered diksa gurus, and we'll concede defeat, and it will be all over."
They haven't defeated anyone. What they are really saying is, they don't know how to deal with it philosophically anymore, so they aren't going to even try, now they will just kick out everybody who says different. They will run on greenhorn power for ever if they can! These are Srila Prabhupada's temples, his ashrams. and so many of his own disciples are saying, "only Srila Prabhupada is to be guru in his own ashram", and these GBC all stand up and shout, "that is blasphemous, and for making this very blasphemous statement we will kick you out of Srila Prabhupada's temples." Is this pleasing to Srila Prabhupada? To kick out so many of his dear disciples who are staunchly devoted to him? Is this honesty?
Radha Krishna dasa
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