Autumn 2005

In a lecture given on 22 January, 2005 in Pune, India, H H Bhakti Caru Swami (henceforward ‘BCS’), one of the current ISKCON Gurus elected by a majority vote of the GBC to the position of a good-as-God Guru, stated the following:

“We are trying to approach the absolute truth, and it is through truthfulness only that we can approach the absolute truth…
A Vaisnava must be absolutely honest. The antonym for honesty is actually hypocrisy, and Srila Prabhupada was very emphatic about that point, for us not to become hypocrites. When we stand on honesty, frankness and truthfulness, it automatically creates a very very enlivening environment.”

(HH Bhakti Caru Swami, Lecture 22 January, 2005, Pune, India)

Readers may remember our article in BTP 2 where we cited BCS’s lengthy taped admission that ISKCON’s current Guru system is “going in the wrong direction” and that therefore all initiations should immediately “stop”.

Unfortunately, BCS, while accurately diagnosing the symptoms of ISKCON’s malaise – namely, an unauthorised Guru system which replaced Srila Prabhupada as the real Guru – decided not to take the medicine himself, and rather than “stop” initiating, he simply carried on regardless. Not a good sign for a leader who preaches “not to become hypocrite.” ISKCON’s Gurus have been continually trying to portray the illusion that they are always endeavouring to put “Srila Prabhupada in the centre”, and that they themselves are simply nothing but assistants in this most noble task. And there is no more adept practitioner of this art than BCS himself. He will go out of his way to try and show how he is always concerned that Srila Prabhupada, rather than himself, be in the centre, while still happily receiving the worship that is meant exclusively for Srila Prabhupada.

A classic case of “bait and switch”, as we now illustrate. [A bait and switch is a form of deceit in which a customer is lured by advertising a superior quality good, and who is then offered a lower quality substitute good.]

September 2000 – BCS uses “Srila Prabhupada Memorial festival” as bait for his own “Vyasa Puja” worship

“Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.Thank you very much for your Vyasa-puja offering. I was very happy to read it. As you know, for the last few years I have not been celebrating my Vyasa-puja. This year, however, I promised the devotees of Mayapur that I would be there for that occasion. As usual, they made quite an elaborate arrangement. I was not able to stop them from doing this, but I made it a point to turn it into a “Srila Prabhupada Memorial Festival”.
(BCS, Text COM3611362, 10 October 2000)

Below we read just how BCS 'made it a point to turn his Vyasa Puja festival into a Srila Prabhupada Memorial Festival'.

September 2000 – What actually happened

“… Finally, he went upstairs to his quarters, again accompanied by a huge trail of devotees all running up the stairs one after another. When Guru Maharaja came in and sat down on his Vyasasana (the regular one that always stays in the front darsan room), a Guru Puja was started. As the many devotees sang and danced, Guru Maharaja distributed 3 types of cookies to the small children first and then to the rest of the devotees, as they came to him and offered a flower at his lotus feet. [...]
On Vyasa Puja day, Guru Maharaja was in the temple [...]
After that, Guru Maharaja went to Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasasana to be the one to offer the more than 60 preparations that had been offered for the occasion, including an enormously long cake (it took 8 devotees to carry it). [...]
Then, there was supposed to be readings of Vyasa Puja offerings to Guru Maharaja in the GBC conference room at 4:30.
At 5:15 Guru Maharaja went up there, sat down on the same Vysasana as the previous night, but he noticed that there were hardly anyone there! Indeed, only about 30 devotees were sitting there.
Guru Maharaja got a little upset with Ganga Narayana das, the organizer of the event. He grimaced, got up and left.
As he walked away, he said, “I didn’t even want to do this! There is practically no one here, so what is the use?” [...]
After some time, Guru Maharaja came out of his room and sat on the Vyasasana, his anger completely gone. Then, for 3 hours, so many devotees stood up and read their offerings to Guru Maharaja. At the end, Guru Maharaja said a few words again in glorification of Srila Prabhupada and of the need in our society to put all emphasis on him.”

(BCS disciples’ account of the “Srila Prabhupada Memorial Festival”, September 2000)

October 2000 - BCS switches back to exclusive “Prabhupada is Guru” worship mode

“Why do we hesitate to tell a new comer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily? When we have such a great good fortune, why do we not take full advantage of it? […]
This morning, during her speech, mother Daivisakti pointed out how natural it is to see that Srila Prabhupada is ‘the guru’ of ISKCON, still today. It occurred to me how clear a fact that is. Still, how seldom we act according to that understanding! Or do we ever act at all with that understanding?
Nevertheless, everyday, in all the temples of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is worshipped by everyone. Then why do we hesitate to tell a new comer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily? […]
Therefore, with all sincerity, I say that we are losing everything because we had been thinking that Srila Prabhupada is now dead and gone, and we started to claim our shares of our inheritance”

(BCS Offering on Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day, October 2000)

May 2003 – BCS states Srila Prabhupada imitation is “one of the biggest mistakes”

“Unfortunately we have observed some unfortunate misconceptions develop within ISKCON, such as “gurupism” where the guru is in the centre. This has already hurt the movement.
But the problem started when some individuals became gurus after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. They were inexperienced and so naturally prone to make mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes they made was to behave like Srila Prabhupada when they became gurus. Literally this meant, what Srila Prabhupada was to his disciples, the gurus became to their disciples. As a result Prabhupada’s position became obscured…in 1981 we started to face a crisis due to this system.”
(BCS, Disciple’s meeting, Text PAMHO6829041, 19 May 2003)

September 2003 – BCS imitates Srila Prabhupada

“Upon arriving…
he [BCS] was greeted by a kirtan of enthusiastic devotees. They bathed his feet and performed aroti. After having this, Guru Maharaja said, “Actually, I don’t care for feet bathing. What I care about is seeing that Srila Prabhupada is pleased.”
(Text PAMHO7232688, 12 September 2003)
“Then he [BCS] was escorted to the temple room and asked to sit down on the Vyasasana in front of two hundred devotees. Sivarama Maharaja sat on the floor and sang “samsaradava nalalidaloka…” on the harmonium, and all the devotees offered flowers and dandavats to Guru Maharaja, who humbly had his hands folded and eyes closed…the devotees offered flowers to Guru Maharaja… It was very sweet.”
(Text PAMHO7232690, 12 September 2003)
“Guru Maharaja [BCS] asked us to post three or four Vyasa Puja offerings everyday on the istagosthi, 'so that devotees can read them.’”
(Text PAMHO 7333045, 8 October 2003)

September 2003 – BCS promised he would not imitate Srila Prabhupada

“With the passing of time, the tendency of the disciples was to make the Vyasa Puja more and more into a grand ceremony. And somehow or other, I also tended to go along with that, forgetting the original resolution I had made. And then, unfortunately, in 1998, we saw another very unfortunate accident, whereby another very prominent leader, spiritual master, had spiritual difficulty. This caused a very great loss to our society. So once again I was reminded about this possible danger. […]
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.”
(Text PAMHO7258816, 18 September 2003)

November 2003 – BCS condemns Srila Prabhupada imitation

“I strongly believe that if the gurus had acted as Srila Prabhupada’s obedient followers and represented him properly, then they would not have fallen down. The cause of their fall down was actually their offenses to Srila Prabhupada in trying to usurp his position. Since Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, ISKCON has experienced a series of losses. When eleven gurus started to function as if they were the “chosen ones” who inherited Srila Prabhupada’s legacy, senior godbrothers became disheartened and left the movement.”
(Text PAMHO7428765, 3/11/2003)

September 2005 – BCS imitates Srila Prabhupada

“I was wondering whether I desire this glorification and worship. Generally I feel reluctant to indulge in this celebration, I had a very fortunate excuse my English date of birth falls on the same day when Srila Prabhupada arrived in America. 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!”
(BCS lecture on his “Vyasa Puja” celebration, 17 September 2005)
“There is no end to the glorification of Srila Prabhupada,” Guru Maharaja stated with a smile in the microphone […]
That evening, from 6.30 to 9.30 was the Vyasa Puja celebration. 10 young ladies were posted on either side of the hallway joining the reception hall, with flower petals in their hands, which they threw at him when he walked in.
Inside the hall, Guru Maharaja made his way to the smaller Vyasasana on stage, with the Hare Krsna maha mantra loudly resounding in the air and all devotees standing, dancing, smiling, waving their hands, and singing Hare Krsna. Several devotees bathed his feet simply and quickly (experienced devotees will identify with the fear of taking longer-than-necessary time in this particular endeavor). Then, for approximately one hour and a half, as the sitting kirtan party steadily led the chanting of the Holy Name, all devotees walked up on stage and offered flower garlands and/or petals to Guru Maharaja […]
we all sat down, the kirtan stopped, and Guru Maharaja asked me to read some offerings written by several of his godbrothers.
[…] Guru Maharaja said something significant; he told us that he had recently attended the Vyasa Puja celebration of his dear friend Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu in Philadelphia. He recalled that as they were having lunch, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, speaking about his own Vyasa Puja celebration, said, “Actually, disciples NEED this.” This instruction left a deep impression with Guru Maharaja, so much so that he repeated it to us that night.”

(Text PAMHO:10411392, ‘Vyasa Puja/ Prabhupada festival’, 19 September 2005)

It is thus clear from the foregoing that BCS’ plan is to FIRST REPLACE Srila Prabhupada with himself, and THEN offer SOME of the worship which is directed to him back to Srila Prabhupada as a grand gesture.

What is not realised is that had he not FIRST decided to replace Srila Prabhupada with himself, then all the worship and offerings would automatically be going to Srila Prabhupada anyway!

Even BCS recognises this monstrous bait and switch Guru scam as he admits below:

“With the passing of time Srila Prabhupada’s greatness will become more and obvious…
some insignificant individuals, today, are obscuring the vision of many and bewildering their perceptions. However, in due course of time the tiny little hills will disappear into oblivion and Srila Prabhupada’s greatness will shine forth with full glory […]
Similarly, when Srila Prabhupada was present on this planet, all those so called pure devotees were not even visible, and no one even wanted to know them, but now that Srila Prabhupada has withdrawn his pastimes so many individuals are being bewildered by them.”

(BCS, Text PAMHO7243026, 15 September 2003)

Yet it does not seem to occur to BCS that HE is one of these “so-called pure devotees”, “insignificant individuals, obscuring the vision of many and bewildering their perceptions” by allowing others to worship him as if he was Srila Prabhupada.
ISKCON’s Bait and switch Master is also the Master of Hypocrisy.