Documenting the New Sahajiya Movement


IRM

Back To Prabhupada, Issue 38, Winter 2012/13

In BTP 36, we presented a feature article entitled “Combating Kali-celas Passing as Vaisnavas”. This article highlighted how it is actually those who are coming specifically in the guise of devotees who are spreading the most dangerous deviation. And thus, a “spiritual audit” is constantly needed to expose and prevent such false “devotees” from cheating others. Below, we provide such an audit in much greater detail than we have done previously, to reveal the specific type of Kali-celas (false devotees) that we are dealing with. All emphases below were added.

Illiteracy

“Certainly it was right for Jiva Gosvami to stop such a dishonest scholar from advertising that he had defeated Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, but due to their illiteracy the sahajiya class refer to this incident to accuse Srila Jiva Gosvami of deviating from the principle of humility.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 10.85)

Example: GBC members similarly dishonestly advertised that they defeated the IRM by publishing a paper titled Disciple of My Disciple, which is an egregious example of not only their philosophical illiteracy, but their English illiteracy as well; for they quote Srila Prabhupada saying “Yes” (in response to a question about whether future initiates would be his disciples after he is no longer physically present), but explain it as meaning “No”:

“Satsvarupa: So they may also be considered your disciples.
Prabhupada: Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?
ANALYSIS: Satsvarupa Maharaja again suggests the possibility of proxy initiation. Srila Prabhupada could say yes, but he does not.”

(GBC, Disciple of My Disciple, 1997, p.7)

Sentimentality

“It is not that one should create something out of sentimentality, become a sahajiya and advocate such concocted devotional service.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 1.34)

“Therefore the so-called good men of this world, who are engaged in so many welfare activities, humanitarian activities, by mental concoction, they may be all foolish activities in the estimation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are very much puffed up, that ‘We are doing this, opening hospital and school, and philanthropism, nationalism.’ Is there any such thing in the Bhagavad-gita? Is there any advice that ‘You open hospital, school and do this philanthropic work?’ No.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 3/8/1973)

Example: ISKCON guru HH Radhanath Swami has created an entire cult of philanthropy based on sentiment, including establishing “missionary hospitals and eye camps”, “an orphanage”, “schools”, and “emergency relief programs” (descriptions from his official website and autobiography), which are deviations from the path of devotional service.

Using false humility for fame

“Sometimes a sahajiya presents himself as being void of desires for reputation (pratistha) in order to become famous as a humble man.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 4.147)

Example: ISKCON guru HH Bhakti Charu Swami uses Srila Prabhupada’s name as cover for his own “Vyasa-puja” glorification:

“With the passing of time, the tendency of the disciples was to make the Vyasa-puja more and more into a grand ceremony […] But then, from 1999, I started to turn this occasion completely and exclusively into a Srila Prabhupada Memorial festival. Actually, what we need for our spiritual development, both individually and collectively, is to focus onto Srila Prabhupada.”
(Bhakti Charu Swami, Text PAMHO7258816, 18/9/2003)

However, having made a big show of such humility, the reality was that the “grand ceremony” continued every year unchecked:

“I was wondering whether I desire this glorification and worship […] Therefore I generally turned this occasion in celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in America but still I could not avoid this worship and glorification […] now I can see what the simple celebration turned into!”
(Bhakti Charu Swami Lecture on his “Vyasa-puja” celebration, 17/9/2005)

They consider themselves next acaryas

This is sahajiya-väda. He is thinking, ‘Oh I have become liberated. I don’t require any direction of my guru. I’m liberated.’ Then he’s rascal. Why this Gaudiya Matha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He, before passing away, he gave all direction and never said that ‘This man should be the next acarya.’ But these people, just after his passing away they began to fight, who shall be acarya. That is the failure.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 16/8/1976)

Example: Just as there was no order in the Gaudiya Matha for a nominated successor acarya, there was no order in ISKCON for 11 successor acaryas or dozens of successors as we have now, and, thus, ISKCON has tried to become “more than guru” in the same manner, as admitted by ISKCON guru HH Jayadvaita Swami:

“But by the influence of maya, illusion, a different idea soon evolved — that Srila Prabhupada had appointed eleven ‘pure devotees’ to serve as the only gurus after him. […] This zonal guru system, as it came to be called, prevailed in ISKCON for about ten years, until its falseness became clear”.
(Jayadvaita Swami, “An Apology”, Back To Godhead #25-01, 1991)

“Is this an outright fabrication or not? That Srila Prabhupada ‘personally detailed the procedure for increasing the number of initiating guru[s]’ is something we can only wish. Or falsely tell the Society he did.”
(Jayadvaita Swami, Email to the GBC, 13/12/2003)

Take everything very cheaply

“That is sahajiya, which means a class of men that take everything very cheap.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 15/6/1972)

Example: A prominent manifestation of taking Krsna consciousness to be cheap, is reducing it to an activity engaged in for business and material benefits — commercialisation. We have given many examples of this in previous issues: such as advertising the sacred Hare Krsna Maha-mantra for material benefits (BTP 30); and participating in a project that viewed Lord Krsna as a successful “Indian property” and “legendary heritage character” with substantial “revenue generation” possibilities which reduced Him to being a fabled cartoon character (“Little Krishna”, BTP 28).

No depth of knowledge

“we do not want to create a group of prakrta sahajiya, or devotees who do not know the science of Krsna and do not know the science of devotion, but simply worship the Deity with no depth of knowledge.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 3/6/1969)

Example: ISKCON guru HG Kripamoya Däsa (“KMD”) has declared on his website that:

“The Vedic system is that the guru must personally speak the mantra (gayatri) into the ear of the disciple at the time of initiation so he obviously has to be ‘physically present’.”
(Kripamoya Dasa, 7/5/2007)

However, KMD’s own brahmana initiation letter from Srila Prabhupada states the exact opposite — that the guru does not need to be physically present to whisper the gayatri mantra into the ear of the disciple — thus demonstrating KMD’s lack of knowledge:

“I also accept the following as twice-born brahmanas and their threads and mantra sheets are enclosed: Krpamoya das […]. You should have a fire sacrifice and the second initiates should hear through the right ear the mantra on my recorded tape.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 13/11/1975)

They invent their own ways of understanding

“Unfortunately, after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, many apa-sampradayas (so-called followers) invented many ways not approved by the acaryas. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described them as the […] sahajiya, […] The aula-sampradaya, baula-sampradaya and others invented their own ways of understanding Lord Caitanya’s philosophy, without following in the footsteps of the acaryas.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 1.271)

Example: The system of understanding is to accept the words of the acarya, Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada states:

“A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord”.
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 4.42)

However, ISKCON guru HH Romapada Swami has decided instead to simply invent his own philosophy:

“That may be a possibility. There are some instances when one does accept a bona fide spiritual master but later on that spiritual master may fall away from the strict standards.”
(www.romapadaswami.com, archived 2011)

Make guru-disciple connection very cheap

“Such a relationship is condemned by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who calls such spiritual masters and disciples a society of cheaters and cheated. They are also called baulas or prakrta-sahajiyas. Their aim is to make the connection between the spiritual master and the disciple into a very cheap thing. They are not serious in wanting to understand spiritual life.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 24.330)

Example: The connection between the guru and disciple is considered to be so cheap and casual that the guru is considered to be able to fall into gross sense gratification and become a demon, and the disciple is then invited to continue accepting such gurus by getting re-initiated, so that some devotees are now on their 3rd or even 4th gurus!

“That if a guru has become hopelessly entangled in sense gratification […] takes on demoniac qualities and becomes inimical to ISKCON he should be rejected and the disciple may take re- initiation.”
(GBC Resolutions, 1987)

Gopi pastimes

“Some become sahajiya, pretending to be Krsna and Radharani and Her gopi friends.”
(A Second Chance, chapter 16)

“The prakrta-sahajiyas […] To try to become writers of vaisnava literature, they introduce their material conceptions of life into pure devotional service.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, 20.28)

Example: ISKCON guru HH Sivarama Swami has taken to writing books of fiction which, he admits, contain stories that describe a person pretending to be a gopi (a confidential associate of Krsna) as well as activities involving Krsna that have been produced entirely from his own imagination, rather than from an authorised spiritual source:

“Acyutananda Dasa is a fictional character […] remembered how the Divine Couple […] with the gopis […] Their girlfriends in the ecstasy […] He saw the Divine Couple surrounded by gopis, who […] He also saw, somewhat distant from the scene, one young gopi whom he knew to be himself. […] he perceived himself as a gopi serving Radha and Krsna in Vraja”.
(Sivarama Swami, Suddha-bhakti Cintamani)

“The first poetic license, therefore, was to introduce the fictional characters Syamalata and Nava-sakhi. As a consequence of this decision, these literary characters interact with real historical persons such us Radha and Krsna.”
(Sivarama Swami, Na Paraye ‘Ham)

ISKCON leader agrees

The evidence that we present above is so clear-cut, that even ISKCON guru HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami has been forced to admit that ISKCON today is basically just a sahajiya movement:

our movement’s basically off the track and not properly following Srila Prabhupada. […] So then I thought, well that’s, you know, that just shows our movement’s a sahajiya movement […] But it is difficult to train people within the present ISKCON Society when there are all these mayavada and sahajiya influences. I mean just like, for instance, there’s thousands of things we could say.”
(Bhakti Vikasa Swami Lecture, 24/8/2011)

Conclusion

The foregoing are merely sample examples to illustrate a general and widespread tendency amongst those posing as “devotees”. We have given many more examples in previous issues and our other publications. Thus, these myriad deviations we document can all be tied together as being the symptoms of a deviant approach to Krsna consciousness known as sahajiya-vada. Most devotees are familiar with this deviation usually only in connection with our last example to do with the pastimes of Krsna with the gopis, which we have highlighted in previous issues. However, as we detail in this article, there is much more to sahajiya-vada than that, encompassing a whole range of activities and behaviours.

The same sahajiya tendency also infected Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master’s movement, the Gaudiya Matha, and Srila Prabhupada warned that it will pose great danger and that it is very easy to take up:

“These sahajiyas will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Maharaja’s disciples, so many sahajiyas came. These are called sahajiyas. Very easily they capture thing. So my Guru Maharaja used to say, ‘When my disciples will be sahajiya, it will be more dangerous’”.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 28/1/1977)

That sahajiya tendency is very easy to take up. […] Anyway, keep your movement very pure. You don’t mind if somebody goes away. Don’t mind. But we must keep our principles pure.”
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, 7/6/1976)

Unfortunately, such a situation has come to pass, but as Srila Prabhupada states here, we must endeavour to keep our principles pure, even if it means having very few devotees.

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