Poisonous Effects of Sahajiya Vaisnavas


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 47, Spring 2015

A question we have been asked frequently is of the form:

"Since Krishna, His pastimes, His message and His holy name are all pure and absolute, how does it matter whom we receive them from?"

Below, we see Srila Prabhupada answer this question. All emphases have been added.

Milk poisoned by serpent

"So one may say that "He's speaking about Krsna, so what is the wrong there? [...] Hari-kathamrtam* is always pure. [...] Everyone knows milk is very nice and nutritious food, but if it is touched by the lips of a serpent, it is spoiled, no more to be... So it is forbidden, that we should not try to understand about Krsna from a person who is not Vaisnava."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 24/1/77)

*Talks about Krishna

"[...] as milk is poisoned by a serpent's touch, so, although the narration of the pastimes of the Lord is as pure as milk, when administered by serpentlike nondevotees it becomes poisonous. Not only does it have no effect in transcendental pleasure, but it is dangerous also."
(SB, 3.19.33)

Thus, Srila Prabhupada explains that when the pure pastimes of Krishna are received through persons who are not Vaisnavas, then the result will be "poisonous" and "dangerous".

A case study

An example of the "poisonous" consequences that ensue when one attempts to present Krishna's pure pastimes through non-Vaisnavas, was the attempt to present them via the "Little Krishna" cartoon, which we covered in BTP Issues 28 and 30. This cartoon had the following offensive message inserted at its beginning, stating that Krishna's pastimes were only "fables":

"The stories and the treatment expressed herein are well and thoroughly researched and are based on 5000 years old fables".

Fable means a story made up to teach some moral lesson. And the fact that this message was added to the medium of a cartoon, which is generally used to portray fantasy, simply enhanced the effect. We were told by the ISKCON devotees involved with the making of this cartoon that they did not agree with this message, as it was a "blunder" which made them "shudder" (though not "shudder" enough to prevent them from continuing to sell the cartoon with this same blasphemous message). Rather, they informed us that the text was added without their knowledge by their co-producers, who were a non-Vaisnava commercial professional entertainment company. Thus, such a "blunder" only happened because the ISKCON group chose to partner with a non-Vaisnava group.

To understand the significance of just how "poisonous" this message is, consider if all of Srila Prabhupada's books had a "warning" added at the beginning stating that "what you are about to read is not real but made up". In that case, distributing such a message would be doing the greatest dis-service to Srila Prabhupada's transcendental books. Similarly, by attempting to present Krishna's pastimes by first claiming that they are not real but a fantasy, one does the greatest disservice to Krishna's actual pure pastimes.

Further warnings

Srila Prabhupada also gives the same warning in regards to hearing the holy name:

"Srila Sanatana Gosvami has forbidden us to hear the holy name of Krsna chanted by non-Vaisnavas, such as professional actors and singers, for it will have no effect. It is like milk touched by the lips of a serpent"
(Cc., Antya-lila, 1.101)

And the same warning is given in regards to the hearing and reading of Vedic literatures:

"Concerning the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clearly advises that one avoid hearing from a non-Vaisnava professional reciter. [...] such a lesson should not be accepted, for it is like milk touched by the lips of a serpent."
(Cc., Antya-lila, 13.113)

"Milk is very good [...] touched by the lips of a snake, [...] has become poison. [...] Similarly, if we do not hear from the right person any Vedic literature, especially Bhagavad-gita, [...] because he is avaisnava, not devotee, it has become poison. [...] we have got so many editions."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 14/2/76)

"Sahajiya" Vaisnavas

So it's clear — though the content may be transcendental and pure, it is still strictly forbidden to receive it through non-Vaisnava sources. However, in addition to non-Vaisnavas, Srila Prabhupada also extends this same warning to certain types of "Vaisnavas":

"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has warned that "Don't mix it with Vaisnava who is not well trained up, well behaved." [...] But he has warned, "Don't mix with them, these professional, so-called Vaisnava, sahajiyas." This is warned. [...] "You should not hear." "Eh? What is the wrong there? The Krsna-katha is there." No, Krsna-katha is there just like milk is there, but if it is touched by the lips of a serpent, it is no more to be taken. It has become poison. So unless one is situated as pure Vaisnava in his dealing, in his behavior, inside and outside, he should not become a preacher because it will not be effective; neither one should hear from such person."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6/3/76)

Thus, "professional sahajiya" Vaisnavas are also persons one must avoid hearing and reading. And our previous issues have documented in detail how today's ISKCON has turned into a sahajiya movement — please see the article "Documenting the New Sahajiya Movement" in BTP 38, which can be read here.


There is a sentimental attitude that as long as bona fide subject matter is involved then from whom we learn and hear about it does not matter. That it can only help, not harm. Srila Prabhupada dispels such notions. Not only should we strictly avoid hearing it from non-Vaisnavas, but we should also not hear or learn it from any type of "devotees" if they have sahajiya tendencies and have taken up being a devotee cheaply as a profession. For, even though they may be presenting that which is pure in and of itself, the results will be "poisonous" and "dangerous". Conversely, we already know that hearing and reading directly from Srila Prabhupada's lectures, kirtanas and books, is bona fide, completely transcendental and purifying. And thus they can always be taken shelter of without any worry of receiving "poisonous" and "dangerous" effects!

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Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!