The Many Routes to PAD


IRM

Back To Prabhupada, Issue 57, Vol. 1 2018

In past BTP issues, we have covered different types of deviations that have taken root in ISKCON. Below, we show that many of these deviations can be grouped together based on the nature of the deviation. And that all the deviations are actually tied together by a common goal.

The deviant routes

Muni route

Srila Prabhupada states:

"It is said that every muni has a different angle of vision, and unless a muni differs from other munis, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term."
(Bg., 2.56)

We have given examples of those who try to surpass Srila Prabhupada's teachings and establish their own importance by giving their own "angle of vision", different to that of Srila Prabhupada. These can be considered the "muni" deviation, and the philosophy of self-love given in the previous article would be a perfect example of this!

Mainstream route

We have covered many examples of ISKCON deciding to seek recognition from a wider audience by engaging in different activities not authorized by Srila Prabhupada. Some examples have been things such as philanthropy, mundane education, yoga, mantras for "mind control", and so on. They can roughly be categorized as deviating into commercialism, secularism, and Hinduisation, and all these types of deviation can be considered the "going mainstream" deviation.

Guru route

The major deviation, which every BTP issue covers, is of those seeking to be successor diksa gurus to Srila Prabhupada, who are claiming to be the next links in the chain of disciplic succession. Thus, supposedly, Srila Prabhupada is now the "grandfather" guru, and they are the current gurus, and they are all links in the same chain of disciplic succession stretching all the way back to Lord Krishna. In this way, they present themselves as being on a similar spiritual level to Srila Prabhupada.

Initiator route

However, becoming an unauthorised diksa guru is not the only way one can try to make oneself as important as Srila Prabhupada. One can even use the act of claiming to initiate a person as a disciple of Srila Prabhupada to still make oneself as "necessary" as Srila Prabhupada himself. One simply has to falsely assert that the initiation ceremony one conducts is as important or necessary as the diksa Srila Prabhupada provides. Thus, for example, in BTP 55 (please see "What is Diksa"), we profiled one group from Singapore who claimed the initiation ceremony they provided was "equally important" as the diksa Srila Prabhupada provides. Which means that the initiator conducting the ceremony would de facto be as important as Srila Prabhupada, since they are both providing that which is "equally important".

Author route

Another way to achieve a type of equivalence to Srila Prabhupada is to try to rival his books as an author. Srila Prabhupada has presented spiritual literatures such as Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, etc. This work of translating and giving commentaries on the scriptures is engaged in by the Acaryas. Therefore, if one also decides to do this, one is imitating the activities of an Acarya, even though one is not an Acarya, nor has been authorized by Srila Prabhupada to produce these rival books.
In BTP 55 (please see "Defending Srila Prabhupada's Books"), we detailed the proliferation of books competing with Srila Prabhupada's books.

Goal is the same

Therefore, many individual deviations can be categorized under major "routes" as given above, based on the type of deviation. We have given some examples of such deviations above, and one can see how many other deviation could be classified under the headings given.

However, though the deviations may differ, they merely offer different routes to achieve the same goal. For example, both the guru and initiator routes claim that they are necessary to access and "connect" to Srila Prabhupada — either through their guruship or their ceremony. The result is that the intermediary, regardless of his "title", whether "guru" or not, is able to promote himself to some importance, on a par with Srila Prabhupada. Similarly, those seeking to be rival authors and munis are also presenting themselves on a par with Srila Prabhupada in some way, attempting to offer competing books or ideas (or as we saw in the previous article, even "better" ideas). Whilst those engaging in the "Mainstream" deviation seek recognition or financial benefit from the wider society at large. Hence, in each case the goal is to achieve some importance, recognition or profit.

Thus, regardless of the type of "route" each deviation may be part of, all the deviations can be tied together as just different means to achieve Profit, Adoration and Distinction (PAD). Bhakti-yoga or Krishna consciousness means to act for Krishna's pleasure rather than seek PAD for ourselves. And, therefore, in order to seek PAD we will deviate from the path of Krishna consciousness:

"Everyone is after some profit, some adoration and some position. Therefore these things have been forbidden for persons who are advanced in this Krsna consciousness. Because if you have got all these material desires, then you cannot become Krsna conscious."
(Srila Prabhupada, philosophy discussions with Syamasundara Dasa)

Thus, becoming an unauthorised guru is but one deviation or route to achieving PAD. There are many others, which can be recognized by the fact that the route will involve deviating from Srila Prabhupada's orders in some shape or form. In general, no one will accept they are seeking PAD, and instead will justify all activity by claiming it is for "preaching" and that it is being done out of a sense of "service" to Srila Prabhupada. But the very fact that the activity involves some deviation will be the indication that actually it is being done as a service to oneself.

Conclusion

Each issue of BTP uncovers this desire for PAD by detecting deviation through the "spiritual audit" of activities and statements that BTP is famous for. And to date no one has been able to challenge the results of such audits. Simply make ISKCON deviation-free and thus PAD-free, and BTP will have nothing left to spiritually audit!

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